Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The Emmy™Award-Winning Documentary Film

"Broadcast" version now airing on most public television stations.

"Uncensored" version now on DVD and in film festivals.

Synopsis: A charismatic figure featured in Tom Wolfe's book The Right Stuff, Florence "Pancho" Barnes was one of the most important women in 20th Century aviation. A tough and fearless aviatrix, Pancho was a rival of Amelia Earhart's who made a name for herself as Hollywood's first female stunt pilot. Just before WWII she opened a ranch near Edwards Air Force Base that became a famous -- some would say notorious -- hangout for test pilots and movie stars. Known as the "Happy Bottom Riding Club", it became the epicenter of the aviation world during the early jet age. Chuck Yeager celebrated breaking the sound barrier there in 1947, and Howard Hughes and Jimmy Doolittle caroused in the bar. The Club's destruction by fire in 1953 is seen by many to mark the end of a Golden Era in post-WWII aviation. In the same fashion Pancho herself has become something of a legend, a fascinating yet enigmatic icon whose swagger is often celebrated, but whose story has been largely unknown. Until now.

A documentary film produced and written by Nick Spark and directed by Amanda Pope. Featuring interviews with test pilots Bob Cardenas, Bob Hoover and Chuck Yeager, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and biographers Barbara Schultz and Lauren Kessler. Narrated by Tom Skerritt with Kathy Bates as the voice of Pancho Barnes.

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Women in Aviation
"Read Nick Spark's article about Pancho
from Women in Aviation magazine (.pdf)"
08 July 2009

Help Us Get Pancho Out in the World !

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Those of you who have been following the Production Journal in recent months know that we’ve been very busy taking the film out into the world.  Since we debuted the film at NewFest in Manhattan, we’ve done a number of special event screenings, and have a series of events lined up that include air shows, museum showings, and the like.  We will also be premiering the film in Los Angeles on September 10, so please save the date.

One of the thrills about making a film like this one, is that Amanda Pope and I can introduce it to an audience, and tell them Pancho’s story in person.  But unfortunately, attending these events costs real money.  Hotel, rental car and air fare costs all add up, and while many of these events are intended as fund raisers for us, the hard truth is that they've been a mixed bag in terms of offsetting our costs.  Our production is already in the red, and while we’d hoped to use these screenings to raise additional monies, we’re now faced with a hard choice: either we need to cut back our screening schedule, or find sponsors who can absorb some of the costs of the road show.

We’re reaching out to you, for your help.  You can be a part of sustaining our effort to show the documentary to as many people as we can, at venues around the United States.  Your financial gift or sponsorship in support of these screenings is tax deductible, and can make an enormous difference.

To donate, click on the DONATE! link above. Or, to find out about sponsorship opportunities, contact us through the CONTACT US link.

Thanks to everyone who has attended our events, and the hundreds of people who have joined our email list.  With your continued support we know anything is possible.

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The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club ©2008-2010 Nick Spark Productions, LLC.