Gypsy Moth Productions

Broken Propeller

Currently in production.  Release date October 2017.

"We are all richer for having experienced this tragedy." Those are the remarkable words of a victim who suffered loss of both his mother and his right leg.


Broken Propeller contrasts two devastating plane crashes. The first, in 1985 killed all but one of the 71 people on board a Galaxy Airlines plane in Reno, Nevada. It overwhelmed Reno's emergency services, leading to painstaking analysis and rebuilding. The second at the Reno Air Races in 2011, tested the life-saving procedures developed 26 years earlier.


"I saw the plane come down and I started to run toward the dust to ground zero. I passed a shoe with a foot still in it. There was a nurse there that started asking for belts from spectators and used them as tourniquets."  Security volunteer Brad Snedeker


Despite 11 deaths and more than 60 injuries -- many horrific and life-threatening -- the 2011 rescue efforts proved phenomenally successful. Producer Christine Lazzarini began researching the training of first responders and started a dialog with key survivors -- primarily hose who had lost family members and/or limbs in the crash.


She discovered unexpected treasure -- stories of human kindness and resiliency. A son who lost a mother but found a new circle of friends. Family members who started a scholarship for nursing  students in the city where the tragedy happened. Nurses and aides who literally did laundry for visiting relatives of recovering victims. An annual gathering of survivors, filled with joy and hope.


Broken Propeller profiles that kindness and resiliency. Survivors, rescuers and medical professional tell their stories. Their first-person accounts help us all experience the anticipation of air racing excitement and the horror of the crash and aftermath. Medical professionals and average people emerge as heroes in their stories of survival and healing. 


Interwoven with the drama of life and death is the narrative of the training and preparation of Reno's first responders. We see that saving lives involves more than heroism -- it's the repeated practice of life-saving procedures and planning for the unexpected.


We are drawn to tragedy for the deepest and most personal reasons. We want to understand the human side of calamity. Broken Propeller shows us how catastrophic loss can blossom into tremendous love.



We are drawn to tragedy for the deepest and most personal reasons. We want to understand the human side of calamity. Broken Propeller shows us how catastrophic loss can blossom into tremendous love.

I was inspired to produce this documentary from Dr. Michael Morkin's TedX talk.