Saturday, October 29, 2011

You Can Hope or You Can Help

It was an ordinary day.  The sun was up and we were all going about our business as usual when my wife had a very out of ordinary call from her father that stopped her dead in her tracks. It was not long before that call that Marianne, my wife, had  made quite an insightful statement about her parents being great health.  

It is always a concern as we watch are parents age. I had had to come to terms with my own father developing Alzheimer's at the age of 65. I had tried to come to terms with it, but it is not something that's easily done.  I would have to say it's more something you learn to live with knowing it is not going to get better only gradually worse. I would miss that relationship a father has with a son as my father grew less cognitive.   Al, Marianne's father would come along side me with  advice and tips from time to time  - the jewels of life that money can't buy.  Al became one of those pillars in life that a father (then) 6  would need from time to time. 

On that ordinary day back in July 2007,  my wife was contacted by Al who informed her that he had been diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and that the prognosis did not look good. That was our introduction to the crippling disease of pancreatic cancer.  We took it upon ourselves to research the disease and what we found out troubled us.  Pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States.  Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers and a 94% mortality rate. 

This information crushed the family who were wanting answers but not finding it easy to come to terms with.  I remember telling my wife that we should plan on visiting her parents as regularly as we could.  There was little change at first.  Al seemed his usual self and was always very happy to see us.  As his course of treatment continued he deteriorated quickly. 

It  was a short 2.5 months from diagnosis until Al passed away and became another statistic for the disease.  I was glad to have met such a man during my life; a successful man surrounded by a loving family - one of those sound men with a good moral virtue - a pillar in life where you could always find fair reasoning.  Although 4 years  ago now there is not a day that goes by where we don't think about Al and wish he was here.  He has left a lasting impression in my mind of what it means to be a man.  

Our company, WorldWind Productions LLC, has joined together to support the Hirsburg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research by giving 100 documentaries of Wild Eyes The Abby Sunderland Story and a percentage of all online sales.  Abby Sunderland, Al's granddaughter was awarded the Hero Award last year at the Hirshburg Annual fun run, the LA Cancer Challenge.  

Zac receiving the Hero Award - 2009
Abby became the youngest person to sail solo around Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope in 2010. The year before, in 2009, Abby's brother,  Zac Sunderland was awarded the Hero Award.   He became the youngest person to sail solo around the world and is still  the youngest American ever to do so.  

If you want to take part in this years annual run or learn more about the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research visit:

You can hope or you can help.
Al and Carol Criqui with our daughter Lydia

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Welcome to WorldWind Life

G'day and welcome to the blog for WorldWind Productions,

The purpose of this blog is to  encourage, inform and chat about the upcoming events, projects, and adventures both on the sea, on land and in the air.  For that matter,  let's throw in the whole enchilada and include below the ocean as well!   We will endeavor to include the challenges faced with some of our production projects both present and past including informative ways of dealing with and overcoming them.  We will also have  guest writers from time to time to keep content interesting.

We have just finished production on Intrepid: The Zac Sunderland Story:  Part 2.   This was met with many challenges during production which delayed it's original release date of April.   Although many valuable lessons were learned along the way with this  project, it was tenacity that kept a dedicated team working long and hard to get the project finished.  Aside from the great footage that Zac had captured from the vessel while the on board, WorldWind's crew took a trip to the very heart of Montana to interview Robin Lee Graham, legendary sailor of the Dove.  Back in 1965 at the age of 16, Robin set off on a 24ft sail boat and took 5 years to sail solo around the world. National Geographic documented his trip that was later to became a book "The Boy Who Sailed Around the World Alone" and the movie The Dove. Robin's circumnavigation was a huge inspiration for Zac, who read the book as a child, to embark on his trip and an interview with the man himself was a necessary part of the documentary. It was great to meet Robin and Patti.  The footage  taken there was valuable testimony to the two sailing adventures;  similar even although generations apart that shared a kindred spirit.  I will elaborate more on the making of this documentary in a later post.

 Wild Eyes The Abby Sunderland Story
This documentary  was  recently awarded Best Documentary Peoples Choice at the Big Bear International Film Festival and Best New Director at the Silent River Film Festival.  It also was given the following endorsement by Roy Disney Jr.:

"In truth, I wish this movie was longer. I have sailed my whole life and I marvel at Abby's courage and perseverance. I wanted to watch more. It is both a gripping and gratifying story."
When shown at the Big Bear International Film Festival,  Bill Bennett,  ASC member and cinematographer made an interesting observation.  Noting that many people were reaching for tissues and drying their eyes he stated, "This is a powerful documentary that moves people emotionally.".

Production of Wild Eyes was much fun. Not be outdone by the many challenges of a different nature that were faced whilst making this documentary.   More on this in a later post...