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Comparing 2 Independent Movies

In listing the similarities between Lee David Zlotoff's The Spitfire Grill and Carroll Ballard's Fly Away Home, the films sound as if they followed similar smooth paths to the screen. Both films were adequately funded, though Spitfire was technically an independent film. Both were filmed on location: the precise Ontario location for most of Fly Away and nearby Vermont for the Maine settings of Spitfire. The films were also plot-driven and quite low-tech in approach. But when the differences are considered it is clear that the approaches the directors took, as well as their commitment to the stories that were being filmed, differed considerably.

Spitfire was a personal project written by director Zlotoff who was concerned about making a significant mark in feature films. Fly Away Home was based on an autobiographical account which, though it had been purchased by the studio, was subject to the original author's approval of script and choice of director. Ballard, a veteran director, had to be persuaded by the story itself to consider the possibilities it held and take on the job. The stories also placed different limitations on the productions. Zlotoff's script was a carefully constructed piece that relied on its balance of gradual revelations and on strong acting. The Fly Away script was allowed to take a great deal of latitude with the facts of the subject's story and changes could still be made if they were needed. The principal difficulties inherent in realizing the story were the technical demands it made in terms of training geese and then capturing their activities on film.

Although Fly Away was filmed on location near the site of the actual events depicted, the story made relatively simple demands in terms of setting, design, costumes and other visual elements. The creators of the film only needed to retain the basic notion of training geese to migrate and the true story of Bill Lishman (Thomas Alden in the fil...

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Comparing 2 Independent Movies. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:21, June 26, 2019, from