ship that launched nostalgic documentary
Philadelphia Business Journal
10, 2006 by Diana Huynh, Special
to the Business Journal
In 1999, Tim Phillips
was in Philadelphia shooting a training video. Driving on Columbus
Boulevard, he had a sudden encounter that he described as "the
classic Hollywood experience."
There it was:
nearly 1,000 feet long and 175 feet tall, docked in the Delaware
instantly what it was," said Phillips. "And it occurred
to me -- I did not know what happened to it."
decided to stray from his usual projects as co-owner of Washington,
Creek Productions, Inc., a producer of industrial commercial
and training videos, and explore the historical documentary genre.
Son of a former
CIA agent, Phillips traveled on the ship when he was 6 years old
in the 1960s.
the ship was the coolest thing ever," said Phillips. "Once
I saw it, all these memories began to bubble up."
last January with a budget of $685,500. The five-person team, including
co-owner Steve Agnew, have so far begun research and conducted over
70 phone and 12 camera interviews.
an untold story," said Phillips. The ship "came at the
very end of the trans-Atlantic era. Since then, it somehow sailed
out of the nation's consciousness."
Big U," a nickname for the ship, the documentary will explore
its history, its famous passengers, its engineering advancements
and its creator, William Francis Gibbs.
an amazing person," said Phillips. "And like the ship,
he has been completely forgotten."
to wrap-up the project within the next year. The team is currently
talking to the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, VA., where the
ship was built, to join as partner and Phillips said PBS has expressed
interest in airing the documentary.
who go shopping on Columbus Boulevard look at the ship and wonder,
'What's that piece of junk?' I want them to know that it was as
big as the Statue of Liberty. I want them to know what an American
icon it was," said Phillips.
originally published in the Philadelphia Business Journal. Click here to
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