Penn State faculty member’s film becomes hit on PBS

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — “A Wing and a Prayer,” a documentary by Penn State senior lecturer Boaz Dvir, has become a hit on PBS. More than 150 PBS stations around the country — including all Top 30 markets — have aired the hour-long film during primetime. Many broadcasted it several times and plan to show it again in coming months.

The American Jewish Historical Society, Columbia University and other organizations have hosted special screenings in Manhattan, Paris and other cities.

A free public screening and discussion of the documentary will be conducted at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, in the Paterno Library's Foster Auditorium. Other upcoming special screenings include Syracuse University (Oct. 11-12), Penn State Great Valley (Oct. 15), Napa Valley (Nov. 8), Palm Beach (Dec. 17), Boca Raton (Dec. 19) and Baltimore (May 4).

Narrated by actor William Baldwin (“Backdraft,” “Squid and the Whale”), “A Wing and a Prayer” tells the little-known story of World War II aviators who risked their lives and freedom in 1948 to give newborn Israel a chance to survive.

Viewers describe the film as “riveting,” “moving” and “powerful.” “I was right there with (the aviators),” actor Taylor Hays said. “I am delighted that at long last the story has been told for posterity,” World Machal President Smoky Simon said.

The film’s once-in-a-lifetime interviews with the operation’s key members — including an exclusive with their leader, Al Schwimmer — provide rich detail about a band of brothers who helped reshape history yet have been forgotten by history books.

“I feel lucky and honored to have had the opportunity to tell their incredible stories,” Dvir said.

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Last Updated September 24, 2015