Aspen-Based Filmmaker To Preview His Film At EAA AirVenture Festival | New


Attendees at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture Festival in Oshkosh, Wisconsin will get a taste of Aspen when “Flying Boat” premieres on the big screen in front of 600,000 aviation enthusiasts on July 25.

The 77-minute documentary ran for five years. The project was directed and produced by Dirk Braun of Red Mtn Productions, an Aspen-based commercial production company. The film follows the story of the Grumman Albatross aircraft, a WWII aircraft that was popular with travelers around the world because it could fly great distances and land on water.

“Beyond just highlighting a beautiful piece of history that has been lost in time, I hope this film inspires people to pursue their dreams, no matter how inaccessible they may seem” , Braun said. “I wanted to have the past, the present and the future. The past is all history, the present is the handful of pilots who keep this thing alive, and the future is me and my dream and hopefully continue that.

The seaplanes were originally designed for search and rescue operations on the high seas, Braun said, and were later reused for travel and other things. Although the Grumman Albatross could fly farther and longer than any other aircraft, seaplanes became obsolete after World War II when commercial airlines built long runways.

For decades, the last remaining copies of Grumman’s albatross were in a “boneyard” in Arizona. Over the years, some of these planes have been rescued by pilots and aviation enthusiasts who decided to restore the engines and fly them elsewhere.

With a bit of its own visual storytelling, Braun’s film features the voices of a star cast of professional aviators to create the narrative. The lead voice is that of Tom Casey, a New York-based pilot who owns a Grumman Albatross.

Casey and a number of other experts – including a military pilot, a couple who dreamed of touring the country on a flying boat, an aircraft restaurateur, an adventurer and an airline pilot who vacation in the Arctic – have inspired Braun to tell their stories and chase his own dreams of piloting a Grumman Albatross.

“What inspired me was this ability (of the airplane) and I just fantasized about what I would do with one, and always wanted to fly one,” Braun said.

Braun was 18 when he first discovered a Grumman’s albatross, and by working with Casey on the film he finally had the opportunity to learn to fly. Between filming and editing his documentary, Braun took flying lessons in New York City and became a certified pilot after flying to Aspen and Glenwood Springs.

The film includes footage of Braun’s flights over Aspen. The shots are used in montages, which Braun says will help continue the main metaphor of the story.

“It was really what I was hoping I could fit into there, because I owe a lot to Aspen,” he said. “This city has supported me so much and I’ve learned so much while I’m here, so I’m just happy to give back a little, to have at least a little Aspen there.”

Braun will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of 100 signed limited-edition movie posters to Aspen Flight Academy. Plans are underway for a local screening of the film later this year, and the film will also be released on streaming platforms and DVDs after its premiere.

For more information on the film, including trailers and copies for sale, visit


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