Kate Campbell’s 10-year odyssey to bring the story of Second World War female pilots to the big screen is about to land.

The short film version of Boundless is nearing completion and Campbell, from Haliburton, is in the process of shopping it out to film festivals around the world.

It’s one step in a much larger project to eventually produce a miniseries, Campbell told The Highlander in an interview. “We’ll start submitting to festivals this week, though we still may be tweaking sound and finishing the titles and credits until the end of September,” she said.

It will then begin its festival tour wherever it is accepted. Most festivals are now online due to COVID.

“It would have been nice to have had a proper in-person premiere, which we will still have when it’s safe to do so, but I’m embracing online because it’s time for the piece to get out into the world now, and because it also has the potential to be seen by more people through festivals online.” Campbell said they’ll use it as a pitch for the larger version of the project.

It’s been more than a decade of interviewing, travelling, writing and researching to get to this stage, Campbell said.

Being from from Haliburton, it was important for her to include the County in this production. Tammy Rea is one of the producers and Anabelle Craig, Joey Varga and Hannah Sadlier helped on set. The Haliburton County Folk Society and Nick Russell assisted with the soundtrack [see next week’s Highlander] and there’s been financial support from the Haliburton County Development Corporation and the Haliburton Legion.

Campbell said she’s very excited to share the film and everyone’s hard work with the world, and ready for the next Boundless adventure.

The project was inspired by her grandmother, Betty Greply (nee Ward), who became a pilot to conquer her fear of heights in the 1950s at Buttonville Airport behind her husband’s back. She

was a member of the Ninety-Nines Flying Organization, which began in 1929, and where Amelia Earhart was a president.

Dini Petty plays the older version of the lead character, Betty. The Canadian broadcast icon was the first woman in the world to pilot a helicopter while broadcasting over the radio at the age of 23.

“My grandmother and Dini flew out of Buttonville at the same time in the late 60s and early 70s,” Campbell, who is a student pilot and member of the Ninety-Nines, added.

Between 1942 and 1944, more than 1,000 female pilots flew a collective 60 million miles in service in a specialized training program to free the male pilots for battle. The program was based out of Sweetwater, Texas and was headed by famed aviatrix Jaquiline Cochran.

“As the war was ending, the women were abruptly disbanded, denied military status, shamed for taking the jobs of men returning from war, and were forced to pay their own way home,” Campbell said.

“It’s a really important untold story that was not in our history books, so being able to share this education is significant.”

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