Above and Beyond: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force

This gripping documentary unfolds like The Great Escape, a true-life wartime adventure story. In 1948, as the British withdrew from Palestine, and five Arab nations prepared to invade Israel, a ragtag group of young men from around the globe volunteered to defend the new country. Called Machal, or volunteers from abroad, many were World War II veterans from the US. Because of an embargo imposed by the Truman administration, Americans risked losing their citizenship by joining the fight. Produced by Nancy Spielberg, younger sister to Steven, this film celebrates the pilots who laid the foundation for the Israeli Air Force. It combines extraordinary archival footage and interviews with scholars, survivors and their descendants. Interviewees range from Shimon Perez to Paul Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman), whose father Milton Rubenfeld flew combat missions. The bravery of these volunteers was incredible. The only aircraft available to them were American and German jets junked after the war, constantly liable to deadly mechanical failure. Amenities were equally scarce (many had to make do with discarded Nazi flight suits.) Despite their shoddy equipment, they exercised enough skill and trickery to persuade the invaders that their small squadron posed a far bigger threat than it really did, helping turn the tide of the war. North American Premiere
From 2008 Festival: Director, United States Biography: An award-winning filmmaker with a passion for history and social justice, Roberta Grossman has written and produced more than forty hours of documentary television. She was the series producer and co-writer of 500 Nations, the eight-hour CBS mini-series on Native Americans hosted by Kevin Costner. Grossman’s feature documentary, Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action, premiered in February 2005, and has screened and won awards at more than forty festivals worldwide. Other writing and producing credits include In the Footsteps of Jesus, a four-hour special for the History Channel; Hollywood & Power: Women on Top, a special for AMC; The Rich in America: 150 Years of Town and Country Magazine for A&E, The History of Christianity: the First Thousand Years, a four-hour special on A&E, Medal of Honor, a six-part television series produced for U.S. News & World Report, and Heroines of the Hebrew Bible and Judas for the A&E series Mysteries of the Bible. Filmography: Producer: 1. Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action (2005) (producer) 2. Fortune Files 2: By the Numbers (2005) (TV) (co-executive producer) 3. Women on Top: Hollywood and Power (2003) (TV) (producer) 4. In the Footsteps of Jesus (2003) (TV) (producer) 5. From the Waist Down: Men, Women & Music (2001) (TV) (producer) 6. "Escape: True Stories of Suspense" (producer) (1 episode, 2000) (segment producer) (unknown episodes) Escape from Bosnia: The Scott O'Grady Story (2000) TV episode (producer) 7. Medal of Honor (1999) (TV) (series producer) 8. The Rise of Christianity: The First Thousand Years (1998) (TV) (segment producer) 9. "Mysteries of the Bible III" (1998) TV series (segment producer) 10. "500 Nations" (1995) TV mini-series (producer) Writer: 1. Women on Top: Hollywood and Power (2003) (TV) (writer) 2. In the Footsteps of Jesus (2003) (TV) (writer) 3. From the Waist Down: Men, Women & Music (2001) (TV) (writer) 4. "Beyond Chance" (1999) TV series (unknown episodes) 5. The Rise of Christianity: The First Thousand Years (1998) (TV) (writer) 6. "Mysteries of the Bible III" (1998) TV series (writer) 7. "500 Nations" (1995) TV mini-series (writer) Director: 1. Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh (2008) (TV) (post-production) 2. Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action (2005)
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