Friday, October 3, 2008

Sanibel to Siberia

The documentary Sanibel to Siberia chronicles the creation of a monumental bronze sculpture by Alaska artist R.T. "Skip" Wallen to commemorate Alaska’s little-known role in the Lend-Lease program of World War II. The sculpture, commissioned by the Alaska-Siberia Research Center, portrays an American and a Russian pilot in cold-weather gear.

From 1942-45, the United States sent almost 8,000 newly-minted warplanes to the Soviet Union. The planes were flown from their points of manufacture around the U.S to Fairbanks where Soviet pilots trained on them and flew them across Bering Strait and Siberia to the war fronts.

Sanibel to Siberia chronicles the historical background for the memorial and Alaska’s little-known role in the top secret undertaking. . It goes on to document the process of creating the bronze sculpture in a studio on Sanibel Island, Florida, where the artist went to work when his Juneau studio proved too small for the production. The dedication in a park along the Chena River in Fairbanks, attended by dignitaries from five nations, concludes the film.

The documentary was produced by WGCU-TV, Fort Myers.

Sanibel to Siberia
Wednesday 10/8 at 9:00 pm
Saturday 10/11 at 3:00 pm
Sunday 10/12 at noon

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