Gripping film on first solar-powered plane to make round-the-world trip to debut in Hawaii

Gripping film on first solar-powered plane to make round-the-world trip to debut in Hawaii
Updated: Nov. 3, 2017 at 11:28 AM HST
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(Image: 'Point of No Return' movie)
(Image: 'Point of No Return' movie)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A documentary on the first solar-powered plane to fly around the world will have its premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival this weekend.

It took 16 months for Solar Impulse 2 to complete its journey last year, using only the sun for power.

But a pair of filmmakers spent more than two years getting the story.

Hawaii ended up being an extended stopover for the aircraft after it experienced battery damage on its record-breaking flight from Japan.

"This film is not just about a plane," said filmmaker Quinn Kanaly. "It's a human drama, really. It's about these instincts, grappling with the unknown, grappling with fear."

Kanaly and fellow filmmaker Noel Dockstader have done television documentaries for National Geographic and PBS. Dockstader followed the Solar Impulse around the world, while Kanaly was in Monaco in the mission control center.

That's where she witnessed the hard decisions that had to be made when pilot Andrew Borschberg flew the record-breaking five-day leg from Nagoya, Japan, to Kalaeloa Airport.

"This is not a story that we could create or re-shoot next week or next year," said Dockstader.

"Someone's life is on the line," said Kanaly. "And they have to make a decision based on their experience, based on what they know, based on their trust in what they've built."

The pair approached the Solar Impulse team because they saw the mission as something important.

"For me, this film is 'What does it take to do the impossible, to do something that seems impossible?'" said Kanaly.

"This is history, and it was very clear to us that we were making a film about history, about a moment in time that would never happen again," said Dockstader.

"Point of No Return" premieres Sunday at the Hawaii International Film Festival, followed by a question-and-answer session with filmmakers Dockstader and Kanaly and pilot Andre Borschberg.

The film will be screened again Thursday. More information is available here.

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