Sign up to The American magazine's newsletters (below) to receive more regular news, articles and updates on America in the UK.
Erik Nelson discusses The Cold Blue
The acclaimed US filmmaker tells us about his new WW2 documentary chronicling the experiences of the Eighth Air Force
Thanks for your time Erik, our traditional first question - where in the States are you from?
I was born, surprisingly, in Hollywood, California.
Can you tell us what your film, The Cold Blue, is all about?
It’s about 95 mins. Seriously, my original idea was to make Koyaanisqatsi with B-17’s. Surprisingly that concept carried through until the end. In essence an art house film about WW2.
How did the project begin?
I stumbled upon 15 hours of outtakes from William Wyler’s classic Memphis Belle. Those outtakes demanded a new film for a new generation.
Did you have particular elements of the Bomber experience that you wanted to show through the film?
I wanted to capture a 360 degree view of the experience - a time machine, if you will, that propels the viewer 25,000 feet over Germany in 1943.
As a filmmaker yourself, did you want to pay tribute to those filmmakers who flew with the 8th Air Force?
Absolutely - one of those filmmakers literally dies to bring this footage back and he and his Director, William Wyler, need to be celebrated and remembered for their achievement.
Was there a particular story from the film that you found particularly powerful?
A pilot that we interviewed was shot down in 1945. He lives to tell us his tale, but one of his crew members was pitch forked to death by angry German farmers. Appalling then. Appalling now.
How will you be spending your time in the UK this week away from the film?
Visiting my new home away from home, the Duxford Air Museum.
What does it mean to be showing the film in the UK, particularly with the Special Relationship a big talking point right now?
Considering the fragile state of the European Union, a union these men died trying to achieve, I think the timing of this premier is frighteningly appropriate.
What do you hope viewers of the film take away from the experience?
A new appreciation of the extraordinary things that these ordinary men achieved - as part of their harrowing and occasional suicidal day job.
Finally, what's the best thing about being Erik Nelson?
Getting to answer questions like that.
On July 4th, for one night only, you can catch screenings of The Cold Blue across the UK and Ireland. For more details on venues and tickets, go to www.mycineplace.com/event-releases/the-cold-blue
To win a pair of tickets to the July 4th Screening of The Cold Blue you can Enter Here