For the most part, movies about pilots and flight attendants tend to make the life of an airline professional seem exciting and glamorous, with days spent in the air and nights spent in exotic places with beautiful people. In director Abe Levy’s ambitious “The Aviary”—a solid, engaging comedy-drama made with a great deal of craft and ingenuity—the airline industry has never seemed so unglamorous and ringed with boredom. Perhaps the most realistic film ever made about flight attendance (is that a word?), “The Aviary”—co-written with Levy by seasoned flight attendant Silver Tree—is steeped in the day-to-day details of serving the unpleasant public at 30,000 feet.
Summer Pozi (Lara Phillips) is a hard-working flight attendant whose entire world revolves around the sky: airports, airplanes, hotel rooms and apartments shared with other flight attendants. Even her dreams of love and romance are airline oriented: Summer believes she will be only be happy once she’s landed and married a full-fledged airline pilot. Ironically, she hates flying, despises being a flight attendant, and admits to everyone that she’ll be hanging up her flight bag the minute a pilot slips a ring on her finger. So committed to this pilot-marriage plan she seems to have forgotten the part about love, Summer Pozi has recently dumped a sweet guy who was devoted to her, just because he decided not to take his Airline pilot test. After being transferred to San Francisco, she starts all over, sizing up the pilots in search of the guy with a pilot’s license, all the while dealing with vengeful co-workers and clueless customers. Eventually, she meets the captain of her dreams (played by Ed’s Josh Randall), but when tragedy strikes, she finds herself rethinking the strategies she’s always lived by.
Remarkably well-filmed and cleverly shot, considering there was very little budget for airplane rental, many of the in-the-plane scenes and airport sequences were filmed guerilla style, with Levy sneaking a camera onto actual flights while his actors gave quick performances when no one was looking. To that end, “The Aviary”—with its birds-eye-view shots, on-location scenery of Paris, Hawaii and other locales—may be the best looking small-budget-guerilla-independent film to come along in years.
This film, already a word-of-mouth sensation within the airline industry, is being cleverly marketed through ads in Airline journals and on-line with a first-rate website: www.theaviarymovie.com.