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 survivor’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
“Survivors are often considered lucky and the rescue is often considered the end to their story,” Dickens said. “But the complexity of true survival is where our film – and the questions that it poses – begins.”
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: “During the course of my life…I have been curious to know, what makes a person heal? People don’t understand. It never goes away. It’s something that stays with you for the rest of your life,” 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 plane’s crash into the ocean, and Jim Polehinke, a former co-pilot whose struggles with survivor’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.