Arts and Entertainment

Film about former Redmond High cheerleader set to debut at film festival

Redmond filmmaker Paul Gorman's film, "Ride The Sky," about skydiving pioneer, Joan Carson, has been selected by the Flathead Lake International CineFest, where it will make its world premiere on Jan. 25.

Carson —  who attended Redmond High School and was a cheerleader in the late 1960s — was one of the founders of Lost Prairie Skydive Dropzone in Montana, home of one of the top five skydiving boogies in the world.

Carson perished there in a skydiving mishap shortly after it opened. She was 30 years old when she died.

Gorman, who knew Carson in high school and spent some time with her while she was living in San Francisco, was deeply affected by her death.

"The news of her death shocked me," he said. "It was one of those events that stays with you the rest of your life."

Gorman wanted to know what drove Carson to continue skydiving after two serious accidents.

"I was curious as to the reason she took the risks she did and why she would continue doing something that caused her so much pain," he said.

Gorman's interest was piqued after learning that while Carson was in her 20s, she and several of her skydiving friends had built their own airfield, hangar and skydive center in the Montana wilderness.

"I was impressed with her accomplishments and adventurous spirit," he said. "The fact that Joan would follow her passion from the safety of the suburbs of Redmond to the sophistication of San Francisco then to the wilderness in Montana, where she built her own airport and skydive center, convinced me that her story was bigger than my own personal interest and it had universal appeal. It was then that I decided to make a film about her."

"Ride The Sky " retraces Carson's skydiving footsteps, beginning in Montana and working its way backward, digging into her past and the events that motivated her.

"The film is structured in the same order in which we filmed it and the audience can experience the story as we did," said Gorman. "There definitely are some surprises along the way and questions answered, but with some new questions raised. The cause of her mishap remains a mystery."

Gorman is the founder of Rain City Cinema and B-Roll Cloud. He lives in Redmond with his wife and dog.

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