Milestones

 

1995 – Filmmaker Ron King reads his grandfather John M. Vorys World War One war journals given to him by his mother, Mary V. King.

2006 – Public Affairs publishes author Marc Wortman’s  The Millionaires' Unit: The Aristocratic Flyboys Who Fought the Great War and Invented American Air Power.

2006 – November. King visits his aunt Jes Canby (daughter of John M. Vorys, Naval Aviator #73), in Bryn Mawr, PA. Canby shares a trove of hundreds of letters written by her father during World War One.

2007 – January. King approaches documentary filmmaker Darroch Greer to investigate the idea of jointly producing a documentary film about the First Yale Unit.

2007 – March 26.  Author Wortman gives a talk on his book at the Yale Club in New York. The event is attended by several relatives and friends of the First Yale Unit. King sits on a panel of speakers including Harry Davison, grandson of Unit founder F. Trubee Davison and David Lawrence, son of Unit member George "Lotta" Lawrence. Wortman announces that King is considering making a documentary film about the Unit.

2007 – June. King contacts Erl G. (Puck) Purnell, grandson of Unit member Erl Gould. Puck becomes instrumental in the first fund raising drive for the documentary and helps to write the newsletter, The Mary Ann. Puck’s son, Burr Purnell, designs the layout for the newsletter and The Millionaires' Unit, Documentary Film website.

2008 – March 15. First edition of The Mary Ann is published. The newsletter about the documentary film The Millionaires' Unit: America’s Pioneer Pilots of the Great War.

2008 – May 28. Humanus Documentary Films Corp., a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit is founded. Humanus Documentary Films is devoted to the production of documentary films that focus on historically significant people and events. The Millionaires' Unit: America’s Pioneer Pilots of the Great War is voted by the board to be the first feature length documentary produced by the new company.

2009 - February. Research conducted and high resolution photos scanned at the National Archives in College Park, MD.

2009 – May 30. www.millionairesunit.org goes live on the internet initiating the second major fundraising drive for the documentary film.

2009 - June. TMU Facebook page launches.

2009 – June. Production on the The Millionaires' Unit: America's Pioneer Pilots of the Great War begins where it all began, Peacock Point, Long Island, New York.

2009 - June. Interviews are conducted with Daniel Davison and Harry Davison, the son and grandson, respectively of Unit founder F. Trubee Davison. Additional interviews are conducted with Puck Purnell (grandson of Erl Gould), Martin Vorys (son of John M. Vorys), William MacLeish (nephew of Kenneth MacLeish) and David Lawrence (son of George Lawrence).

2010 - January. Harry Davison joins the production team as co-producer.

2010 - April. Fundraising events on the East Coast and West Coast begin. Research conducted and high resolution photos scanned at the Navy Yard photographic division in Washington, DC.

2010 - May. The National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida, holds it's annual Naval Aviation Symposium. The focus of the Symposium is on the birth of U.S. naval aviation. The film production team attends the Symposium and sets up a display for the documentary located beneath the wings of the historic NC-4. The filmmakers also conduct research and scan high resolution photos for the film.

2010 - June. Production receives first grant of $25,000 from The Perkin Fund.

2010 - June. The film production team shoots WWI aircraft in flight and conducts interviews at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in NY, at the old campus at Yale and at Peacock Point. Interviews are conducted with author Marc Wortman and the grandson of David S. Ingalls and Trubee Davison - Mike Davison.

2010 - September. Newsletter Archive posted on the website. The Making of The Millionaires' Unit: America's Pioneer Pilots of the Great War at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome is posted to Facebook and the website.

2010 - November. $100,000 grant received from the Louise H. and David S. Ingalls Foundation. $50,000 of total is offered in the form of a challenge grant.

2010 - November. Challenge grant fundraising drive launched.

2010 - December. Sunny Toulmin, neice of First Yale Unit pilot Albert D. Sturtevant is interveiwed at her home in Providence, RI.

2010 - December. Nancy Lamb presents production with a trove of photographic images from the Read family archives including photos of unit pilots Curt and Bart Read as well as unit pilot Archibad G. McIlwaine.

2010 - December. Producers Davison, Greer and King present a series of screenings in New York City of a seven minute promotional film featuring interviews and aerial footage shot at Rhinebeck. The film focuses on central characters in the story and their dedication and sacrifice in World War One.

2010 - December. The producers announce their intention to complete a 30 to 40 minute version of the film by May 1, 2011 - in time to particiapte in the Naval Aviation Centennial which is being celebrated at venues around the country. The fundraising drive to complete the full length feature documentary continues.

2011 - January. Members of the Lynch family present the production with photographs of First Yale Unit pilot Frank R.V. Lynch for use in the documentary.

2011 - January. Extensive research is conducted at the Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University to gather additional original resource material for documentary production.

2011 - February. Interviews with author Marc Wortman are conducted at the old Yale campus. Production team travels to Salsbury, CT to interview author/historian Geoffrey Rossano.

2011 - February. Producers Davison, Greer and King again present screenings of the promotional film in New York City as part of ongoing fundraising efforts.

2011 - February. The Florence Gould Foundation makes a $25,000 donation after attending New York screening.

2011 - February. Research and production at the National Naval Aviation Musuem in Pensacola, Florida.

2011 - March. Research and production at The Historical Society of Palm Beach County and The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida.

2011 - March. Research at The National Archives and the Library of Congress. Extensive still and archival film resources acquired.

2011 - March/April. Editor Brian Derby joins post production team. Film segments prepared for preview screenings.

2011 - April. $50,000.00 Ingalls Foundation challenge grant met by donors.

2011 - May. Preview screenings of new 35 minute edit shown at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida, the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California and Dolby 88 screening room in New York City.

2011 - May. The Overlook International Foundation issues a $15,000 challenge grant to the production.

2011 - July.  Preview screening at Air Venture Museum at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Screenings include Navy Day on July 27th. Davison, King, Greer and Puck Purnell present the film and are interviewed on local radio about the documentary.

2011 – September. Preview screening at American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Centennial of Naval Aviation Forum "100 Years of Achievement and Progress" in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

2011 – October. Preview screening for the League of WWI Aviation Historians Seminar in Monterey, California.

2011 – October. Preview screening for the The Eighth Air Force, Second Air Division, Debriefing Team in Palos Verdes, California

2011 – November. Preview screening presented in partnership with the Yale Veterans Association at Yale University, (Whitney Humanities Center) New Haven, Connecticut. Author Marc Wortman, USN Capt. Sass along with filmmakers Davison, Greer & King in panel discussion following screening.

2011 – December. $100,000 donated by George L. Ohrstrom Jr. Foundation toward completion of film.

2012 – January. Preview screening at Lyon Air Museum Waddell & Reed's traveling World War I exhibit from the National World War I museum in Kansas City.

2012 – March. Filmmaker Greer completes major script revision for broadcast version of film. Revised production schedule and budget completed.

2012 – April. Preview screening and fundraising event at Variety Preview Room in San Francisco, CA.

2012 – April. Filmmakers Greer &  King appear via internet video link at a fly-in at Sugar Valley Airport, Mocksville, NC to discuss film.

2012 – June. Producers Greer & Davison present 86 minute rough cut at screening/fundraiser in London, England.

2012 – June-July. Filmmaker Greer interviews Tommy Sopwith, son of the noted aircraft designer and Michael Gates-Fleming, grandson of First Yale Unit member Artemus "Di" Gates in London. Greer conducts research at the Imperial War Museum and films at locations where the Yale Unit story took place in England, France and Belgium including the final resting place of Yale Unit members Kenneth MacLeish and Curtis Read.

2012 - September. Screening and fundraising event at Dolby screening room in New York City.

2013 - January. Producer Harry Davison presents a preview screening at the Jupiter Island Club, Florida.

2013 - January. Filmmakers present preview screening at Disney Screening Room in New York City. Neal Shapiro, president of WNET-13 (PBS) introduces the film and voices support for the project.

2013 - February. Music Supervisor Steve Goldman hired.

2013 - April. Filmmakers Greer, King & Davison travel to the Hood Aerodrome in Masterton, New Zealand and work with The Vintage Aviator, Ltd. and chief pilot Gene DeMarco to film the Sopwith Camel and several other aircraft in flight. Three Red Epic cameras,  four Canon & Nikon DSLRs and four GoPro cameras are used to capture the air action both from the ground and air to air.

2013 - June. First Yale Unit founder F. Trubee Davison is inducted into the aviation Hall of Fame at the Cradle of Aviation Museum,  Long Island, New York. A twelve minute loop from the documentary is screened during the festivities.

2013 - June. Producers meet with staff at WNET-13 to discuss project progress and meet with potential corporate sponsors for capstone funding.

2013 - September. Producer Harry Davison presents clips from the film at a talk given at the Mashomack Club.

2014 - April - July. Post production team hired and all post production work completed for film screening at AirVenture in Oshkosh WI. 

2014 - June. FedEx signs on as corporate sponsor.

2014 - June. Bruce Dern and actors record narration and VO work for final sound track.

2014 - July. Author Marc Wortman presents clips from the film at a talk in Dallas TX.

2014 - August. Film presented at AirVenture 2014 in Oshkosh WI. Producers Harry Davison and Mike Davison along with Producer/Directors Darroch Greer and Ron King and author Marc Wortman are interviewed by Skip Lehman prior to screening.

2014 - August. Clips from the film are screened at a talk at the Theater in the Woods at Air Venture 2014. Darroch Greer, Ron King and author Marc Wortman appear on stage together for the talk.

2014 - October. Producer Harry Davison presents clips from the film in a talk at the North Shore Historical Museum.

2014 - November. Producer Harry Davison and Writer/Producer/Co-Director Darroch Greer present the film to a standing room only crowd at Yale on Veterans Day

2014 - November. Darroch Greer and Marc Wortman present the film at the Yale Club in New York City.

2015 - January. Filmmakers receive word that the film has been accepted to the Garden State Film Festival for a World Premiere screening in March. 

2015 - March. The Millionaires' Unit wins the Emanuel "Manny" Berlingo Award For Best Feature Length Documentary at the Garden State Film Festival.

2015 - April. Screening at the Kansas City FilmFest in conjunction with the National World War I Museum.

2015 - April. Three screenings at the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival.

2015 - April. West Coast Premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival

2015 - May. The Millionaires' Unit wins 2015 Best Documentary Feature at the GI Film Festival in Washington DC area.

2015 - May. Screening and talk by filmmaker Darroch Greer at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa

2015 - May. Author Marc Wortman screens clips from the film at a talk at the Madison Historical Society

2015 - June. Filmmaker Darroch Greer gives talk on The Millionaires' Unit at the Aero Club of Southern California

2015 - October. Screening at "A Taste of the Garden State Film Festival" at Georgian Court University

2015 - October. Screening at GI Film Festival San Diego

2016 - January. Screening and classroom talks at Hotchkiss and the Salisbury School with filmmakers Ron King, Darroch Greer; author Marc Wortman and military historian Geoffrey Rossano. 

 

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