Welcome to Flightinfo.com

  • Register now and join the discussion
  • Friendliest aviation Ccmmunity on the web
  • Modern site for PC's, Phones, Tablets - no 3rd party apps required
  • Ask questions, help others, promote aviation
  • Share the passion for aviation
  • Invite everyone to Flightinfo.com and let's have fun

Who wants to be a movie star?

Welcome to Flightinfo.com

  • Register now and join the discussion
  • Modern secure site, no 3rd party apps required
  • Invite your friends
  • Share the passion of aviation
  • Friendliest aviation community on the web


On the BC
Apr 15, 2004
AIRLINE'S WOES CHRONICLED: Filmmaker to highlight NWA struggles

Documentary will discuss labor strife
December 19, 2005

A Minnesota filmmaker plans to turn her camera to the labor troubles and financial challenges at Northwest Airlines Inc.

The goal, director Dawn Mikkelson said, is to tell the story of workers who face sharp pay cuts and job losses and of all the financial uncertainty that comes with that.

That uncertainty, Mikkelson said, is an obvious reality in Northwest's home state of Minnesota.

"Just being a resident of Minnesota, everybody I know is connected to Northwest in some way," Mikkelson said. "When things started going down, it impacts people we all know and love."

Think of Northwest's significance to Minnesota as what General Motors Corp. means to Michigan.

When the finances of the state's largest automaker are shaky, everyone else feels those tremors.

With layoffs pending at GM, plant closings at Ford Motor Co. and workers at Delphi Corp. fearing wage and job cuts, there are rumblings that filmmakers might document the financial turmoil of the auto industry and its workers.
GM retiree Ken Ross, 62, of Macomb Township said he received a call from a woman on behalf of "Super Size Me" director Morgan Spurlock asking to interview him about the auto industry, a clue that Spurlock might be interested in taking up the topic. But Spurlock's publicist said the Oscar-nominated director is not working on such a project.

Mikkelson's project doesn't have the name recognition that a Spurlock project would garner.

But in "The Red Tail," the working title for the Northwest film, Mikkelson said, she wants to tell a story that moves well beyond Minnesota's borders and into the nation's travel industry.

"I think that the traveling public is used to having cheap fares, and the company is under a lot of pressure to keep those rates low. It's going to end up who's the last company standing."

Mikkelson said she has no plans to film in Michigan, home to Northwest's largest hub airport, Detroit.

But she intends to use footage from a rally of striking Northwest mechanics earlier this month.

Mikkelson plans to film a fund-raising trailer for the project next month, with full-time production and more fund-raising for the $300,000 film to start in February. She hopes to complete the documentary by November.

Northwest declined to comment on the film. That's not the reaction that Mikkelson is hoping for as she approaches the carrier for its perspective.
While any documentary about union workers might spark comparisons to Michael Moore's 1989 film about GM CEO Roger Smith, "Roger & Me," Mikkelson said she has no plans to chase down Northwest CEO Doug Steenland in her film.

"I'm much more interested in the personal stories of people," she said.
Contact JEWEL GOPWANI at 313-223-4550 or [email protected].

Latest resources