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‘Bride Flight’ film project receives Dutch government subsidy

Story about 1953 KLM flight to New Zealand

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM - A 2007 film project on immigration, has landed $2.4 million in subsidies through two film funds in the Netherlands. ‘Bride Flight’, to be directed by Ben Sombogaart, is the story of three young Dutch women who with a 23 others in 1953 traveled on a special KLM-flight to New Zealand to join their future husbands already living in that country. The international press covering the trip, dubbed the KLM plane ‘Bride Flight.'

The film, scripted by Marieke van der Pol, is also about the KLM-flight, when the Dutch airline entered the London to Christchurch Air Race, billed as the ‘Last Great Air Race.’ The modified KLM DC-6A raced in the transport handicap section, winning the race, although way behind the overall winner, a RAF Canberra jet.

The story of Sombogaart’s film is about the adventurous trio Marjorie, Ada and Esther, eager to escape the damp and suffocating atmosphere in post-war the Netherlands, and looking forward to a brighter future in New Zealand. They meet each other on the immigration flight to their new country, where they will join their future husbands. The KLM plane carried 40 Dutch immigrants, most of them young Dutch women.

During the flight the three young women encounter Frank, who is immigrating to New Zealand to be a share farmer. In the early years in their new country, the lives of Marjorie, Esther and Ada become entangled. They lose sight of each other and it is only after fifty years, at Frank’s funeral, that they discover how much their lives have become intertwined through their different relationships with Frank.

The KLM DC-6A made the journey in 37 hours and 30 minutes. With aircraft designation PH-TGA, and named after Dr. Ir. M.H. Damme, it was piloted by captain H.A.A. Kooper. Other flight crew members were first officer J. Griffith, second officer P. Aarts and third officer J. Noomen. The Air Race was a ‘repeat’ of the 1934 MacRobertson Air Race from London to Christchurch, when KLM had won the handicap race with the famed ‘Uiver’ DC-2, flown by pilot Koene Parmentier, which took just over 90 hours.

The subsidies for the film are from the Netherlands Film Fund and from Public Broadcasting. ‘Bride Flight,’ which Sombogaart announced already some years ago, was selected from among five other film projects. Among the lead actresses who signed on for the film are Tamar van den Dop and Lottie Hellingman. On location filming will be done in New Zealand.