In advance of its world premiere at AFI Docs, realscreen presents an exclusive trailer of Erik Nelson‘s feature-length documentary The Cold Blue.
The 72-minute film is constructed from footage captured for acclaimed director William Wyler’s war documentary, The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress, and serves as a tribute to the men of the 8th Air Force who flew dangerous missions throughout the Second World War.
In 1943, Wyler had traveled to Europe to document World War II’s battle of the skies, flying actual combat missions with B-17′s. Flyers as young as 19 endured treacherous 14-hour missions, 40 below zero temperatures, non-stop barrages of enemy attacks, and emotional gut punches as thousands of their fellow airmen never returned.
Decades later in 2016, Nelson discovered 34 reels of raw color footage shot during bombing missions of Germany by Wyler and his cinematographers for The Memphis Belle in vaults of the National Archives. A new film digitally restored in has been constructed from the material.
Featured in The Cold Blue are interviews with nine surviving B-17 pilots – now in their 90s – and their voices navigate audiences through the harrowing world that Wyler and his cameramen captured in the summer of 1943.
Produced by Vulcan Productions and Creative Differences, The Cold Blue will have its world premiere at AFI Docs in Washington, DC on Saturday (June 16) at 3 p.m. ET.
Nelson and Peter Hankoff serve as producers.