WMU has several connections with film premiering at Air Zoo

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News
Pilot Error movie

"Pilot Error" will be shown Nov. 8 at Air Zoo in Portage, Mich.

PORTAGE, Mich.—Some prominent Western Michigan University connections will be revealed Saturday, Nov. 8, when the Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Center in Portage hosts the red-carpet, world premiere of the film "Pilot Error."

Award-winning actress and WMU graduate Kate Thomsen, makes her screen debut in the film, which was inspired by the true story of a French airliner that went missing over the Atlantic in 2009. In addition, several of the films other cast and crew have connections to the University.

The glamour-filled premiere event begins at 5 p.m. and will feature stars from the film, a pre-party, food and drink, an exclusive screening of the film, and access to a question-and-answer session with experts following the screening.

Tickets cost $20 for general admission. VIP tickets cost $60 per person or $105 per couple and include a reception with the actors and crew prior to the film. Tickets may be purchased on the Air Zoo website at AirZoo.org.

University connections

Director Joe Anderson co-wrote the film script with Muskegon-based producer Roger Rapoport. Anderson and Thomsen, along with cast members Larry Herron and Brian Michael Ogden, all graduated from WMU's theatre program.

"My colleagues and I are extremely proud of Kate, Joe, Larry and Brian," says professor D. Terry Williams, WMU chair and professor emeritus of theatre. "We're thrilled to see them in this important new film, and delighted with what they have achieved since leaving Western."

The cast also includes familiar Hollywood actors Robert Cicchini ("The Godfather: Part III," "War of the Worlds" and "The Watcher) and Richard Riehle ("Glory," "Casino" and "The Fugitive"). Emmy Award-winning composer Garth Neustadter scored the film.

About the plot

The inspiration for "Pilot Error" comes from Air France flight AF447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, which disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean with 211 people on board. The film was shot at the Air Zoo and numerous other locations in Michigan as well as Wisconsin and France.

The script culminated five years of research and interviews and offers a fact-based, insider's glimpse into the potential consequences of keeping pilots in the dark about failed technology and automation.

Thomsen, a Portage native, plays investigative reporter Nicola Wilson. She tries to unravel the mystery of the missing flight, which claimed the life of a close friend.

But as she pursues the truth into a murky world of corporate cover-ups and questionable dealings, Thomsen begins to uncover astonishing details that put her livelihood, friendships and safety on the line.

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