There have been 14 major airplane crashes with a sole survivor in the history of commercial aviation. Most of the lone survivors have never been interviewed, and many remain traumatized by survivorâ€™s guilt.
Filmmaker Dickens understands well the emotional geography examined in her film. As a young adult, Dickens herself became a survivor when she traded places in a car with more
â€śSurvivors are often considered lucky and the rescue is often considered the end to their story,â€ť Dickens said. â€śBut the complexity of true survival is where our film â€“ and the questions that it poses â€“ begins.â€ť
SOLE SURVIVOR centers on the journey of George Lamson, Jr. Nearly three decades ago, as a teenager, Lamson was the lone survivor of the Galaxy Airlines flight 203 crash near Reno, NV. Memories of surviving the crash have never been far from his mind: â€śDuring the course of my lifeâ€¦I have been curious to know, what makes a person heal? People donâ€™t understand. It never goes away. Itâ€™s something that stays with you for the rest of your life,â€ť he says in the film.
Lamson seeks the community of the other 13 sole survivors of airplane crashes. Among them, Lamson finds a young teenager who had clung to bits of aircraft for hours following her planeâ€™s crash into the ocean, and Jim Polehinke, a former co-pilot whose struggles with survivorâ€™s guilt are also reflected in the conflicting emotions of the family members left behind by the dead. Each survivor has a unique journey towards healing, with some similar challenges.