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Up in the Air

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On May 13, we were flying high on campus with a special Q&A and screening of the acclaimed Apple TV+ miniseries Masters of the Air. A companion to the World War II dramatic productions Band of Brothers and The Pacific, the series follows several years in combat for the young men in a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber unit. An audience of residents, volunteers, and MPTF supporters came together at the Susan and Gary Martin Screening Room for the evening event, which featured a panel with co-producer Kirk Saduski, music supervisor Deva Anderson (granddaughter of MPTF benefactor Irving Thalberg and onetime resident and Hollywood star Norma Shearer), Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood, re-recording mixer Duncan McRae, and Emmy-winning composer Blake Neely. One attendee was MPTF volunteer and a real-life master of the air, WWII veteran Dick Kelsey, who was in the 8th Airborne Division.  Dick had a great time!

The panel provided a unique and fascinating look at the painstaking technical craft and preparation that went into the series, from Atwood’s resourceful tactics to create worn attire for the cast to the real-life experiences inside aircraft to capture just the right period-appropriate sounds. “We had the opportunity to fly in a B -17 out at Chino Airport,” McRae explained. “There’s one that they bring out from the Arizona Plain Museum, and four of us on the team got to go up and fly around on one of those for 45 minutes or so. That was an unforgettable experience, something that’s really hard to recreate without being in one of those, but it was that human feel and vulnerability that I really wanted to try and reproduce in the sound effects mix.” Our thanks go out to Apple Studios for making this evening possible.  And now you can watch the entire Q&A from the comfort of your own home in the video above.