Monday, August 5, 2019



Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Emmy Nominated Air Race Doc This Month!

Beyond The Powder airs this month! 

Beyond The Powder
The new Emmy-nominated documentary program about women's air racing titled Beyond The Powder: The Legacy of the First Women's Cross-Country Air Race will be airing across the country this month!

The film has been nominated for Emmy Awards in three categories in the Lower Great Lakes region:  Writing, Research and Best Director for Kara Martinelli.

This one-hour program examines the first women's air race in 1929, while following the race's legacy today with the Air Race Classic

This June, The Race Is On!
Beyond The Powder follows the 2014 Air Race Classic as they wind their way across the country.  As they do every year, the ARC will be winding their way across the USA this month.  The ARC will run from June 21-24.  Check out the map to the right to see if these ladies are coming through your area!

American Public Television is distributing Beyond The Powder to public television stations nationwide.  Click here for a listing of participating public television stations.  For exact air-dates and times, please contact your local public television station.

Beyond the Powder: The Legacy of the First Women's Cross-Country Air Race is a co-production of Hemlock Films and Western Reserve PBS.  The film was made possible with the support of the Ilsababy Foundation and Parker Aerospace.  American Public Television is the nation distributor of the film.  

For more information, please contact:
Adam White - Producer

released through American Public Television
For images, videoclips, and press kits visit:

Hemlock Films | | Hemlock Films | 2330 Glenwood Drive | Twinsburg, Oh 44087
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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

This weekend on PBS, THE RACE IS ON!

Beyond The Powder - PBS Premiere
Air racing doc airing this Labor Day weekend in NE Ohio
The documentary film Beyond the Powder will make its world broadcast premiere on Western Reserve Public Media this Labor Day weekend.  Western Reserve Public Media serves the NE Ohio viewing area.
Beyond the Powder is a one-hour film documenting the 1929 Women's Air Derby, and the women who continue to fly the cross-country race today as the Air Race Classic. The film highlights the societal and aviation challenges women faced in 1929, exploring the history of the race, while comparing the race as it is flown today. Filming wrapped in 2014, following that year's Air Race Classic, a contemporary race with over 50 teams of women pilots.

Beyond the Powder is produced by Hemlock Films and Western Reserve PBS, directed by Ohio resident Kara Martinelli. Narration provided by Law and Order:SVU and NBC's Aquarius actress Michaela McManus.
Scheduled Air Times:
Friday, September 4 @ 8pm - Fusion SD WNEO 45.2/WEAO 49.2
Saturday, September 5 @ 5pm - Western Reserve PBS HD WNEO 45.1/WEAO 49.2
(check local cable and satellite listings)
With the film's many connections to NE Ohio, we are proud to premiere Beyond The Powder in our home market. Cleveland was the center of the aviation world at the time, holding annual air shows and races. The 1929 women's air derby finished in Cleveland, along with many others. In addition to the NE Ohio historic heritage, we, the filmmakers, are based in NE Ohio.
For more information, contact us at:
We would love to hear from you!

Monday, February 23, 2015

PBS to air BTTC!

A Newsletter from the Producer of
Breaking Through The Clouds: The First Women's National Air Derby 
Newsletter #26
   February 18,  2015
Welcome to the newsletter about:

Breaking Through The Clouds: The First Women's National Air Derby (BTTC). 

Breaking News! 

PBS Stations across the United States will begin airing Breaking Through the Clouds (BTTC) this March! Below is a list of current airings scheduled and more information. Thanks to everyone who has continued to champion the film and help me get it this far.

Blue Skies!

Heather Taylor

Producer of the Award-Winning documentary Breaking Through the Clouds: The First Women's National Air Derby. An Archetypal Images Production.
In This Issue
Need a Keynote Speaker?
Gutsy Gals Award
Pioneer in Aviation: Vera Dawn Walker
BTTC DVD Available
Upcoming Events
What is BTTC?
Thank you
BTTC Tshirts For Sale


I'm thrilled to announce that BTTC will begin airing on PBS stations across the country (USA) starting this March. Right now I am aware of 6 stations and their air dates. More are being added daily. As I learn of additional airings, I will update my website, Facebook and Twitter.

The Six Stations & Air Dates Include:
  • Colorado Public TV (Denver & Colorado Springs), Saturday, March 7th, 7pm
  • Las Vegas, VegasPBS Jackpot Channel, Thursday, March 12th, 9pm and Friday, March 13th at noon. 
  • Salt Lake City, KUEN, Thursday, March 21st, 8:30pm.
  • San Francisco, KQED WORLD Channel, March 21st, 10pm. 
  • Roanoke/Lynchburg, Virginia, WBRA,
    Friday, March 27th at noon. 
  • Indianapolis, WFYI, Sunday, March 29th, 2pm.
If you know people in the areas listed above, please feel free to let them know (forward this newsletter, tell them to like FB page, etc).

If you are IN any of the areas listed above, consider hosting a screening party with friends or organizations including your local girl scout troop, EAA Young Eagles, 99s, Women in Aviation Meetings, Airport Meetings, Women's organizations, Community Organizational Meetings, etc. 

If you do have a screening party or even just a group of friends gathered together to watch, send me pictures! 

Of course always double check the listing in case the time or date of the airing changes. 

Note that the PBS version of the film is shorter than the DVD. The longer DVD version, which also has bonus material, is available for purchase at 

If you are not listed above but would like your local PBS station to air BTTC, I was told to suggest the following actions:

Contact your station and let them know you heard about the film and would love to know if the station has plans to air it. If so, suggest that you can help promote the station's airdate via social media and/or screening parties, etc. I was also asked to convey the request to please never threaten the station or suggest withholding contributions or membership if the film doesn't air. 

The process of producing and getting BTTC out to the public has been challenging to say the least. There have been a lot people who have told me to give up, move on and worse. However, there have been more people who have said keep going. I'm glad I listened to those with the positive comments as this is one more step in the dreams I wish to accomplish in telling the women's story. There have been a lot of hard knocks along the way but fortunately I have great role models in weathering obstacles and persevering. I'm also blessed to have met such interesting people along this adventure. Thanks to all of you who continue this journey with me. 

Need A Keynote Speaker or Presenter?

Need a presenter or speaker at an event? Consider a talk centering around the derby and the women who flew it. Producer Heather Taylor gives customized talks using clips from her film Breaking Through the Clouds to center around various themes and shows how lessons learned in the derby are still relevant today. Some example of talks given include:
  • The First Women's National Air Derby and the Women Who Made History
  • Building Community: How the Women of the Derby are Role Models for Building Community Today
  • Community, Collaboration and Pilots. Looking at the role a community plays using collaboration as a means to create a successful event
  • The Women of the 1929 Air Derby and the Collaborative Spirit
  • The Women of the 1929 Air Derby as Role Models for Women Supporting Women
  • The Art of Producing BTTC. The artistic choices made in producing the film including before and after imagery in post production
Heather has presented at various aviation museums, Rotary Clubs, Women Leadership organizations, student unions, schools, and much more. Contact me at to discuss your event and the various opportunities available to have this unique presentation as part of your event.  
Note: This cool plane does not come with presentation!


If the snow stops long enough in Great Barrington, Massachusetts for them to dig out, I will be attending a banquet on March 21st to receive the Gutsy Gals Inspire Me Award for Best Documentary. I will also be showing the film on Sunday, March 22nd in conjunction with the Berkshire International Film Festival. Tickets are available here: 
I have always said the women of the derby were "gutsy" and unquestionably, inspiring. Now I have the moniker to prove it! Here's a lovely article the Festival did regarding the Gutsy Gals Award and the relevance of it: 

The awards festival is hosted by the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.


Pioneer In Aviation:
Vera Dawn Walker

"The midget of the flyers... Miss Vera Dawn Walker." 
This is how the announcer introduced Vera on opening day of the derby in Santa Monica, California.

When Vera obtained her transport pilot's license, the 11th woman in the world to do so, one paper reported, "The smallest airplane transport pilot in the Vera Dawn Walker, who just passed written and flying examinations here. She is four feet, 11 inches tall and weighs but 95 pounds..."

Vera was used to dealing with comments about her small stature. She remembers that Will Rogers  "dubbed me 'half-pint." Vera never let her size stop her from chasing big dreams. Flying like a bird was something she wanted to do since childhood so when she took her first plane ride, in 1921 she exclaimed, "The big moment of my life had arrived!"

Vera later explained to a reporter in 1929 what it was like to take lessons:
"It wasn't an easy task to persuade flying instructors to give me lessons, but they did - after a lot of coaxing. And they took every precaution throughout my schooling, always fearful I was not big enough, strong enough, heavy enough, to handle the controls. Fortunately for me, I was the first girl to solo from the Aero Corporation of California airport. Word got round that they had a 'flying shrimp' over there, and I found myself a popular girl when I came down and had the wings pinned on my waist with a lot of ceremony. "My life-long dream had been answered. I could fly like a bird, not as graceful, not as easily - but I could fly! I could fly! And I've been flying ever since."

A few days before Vera flew to Santa Monica to begin the derby, she made a forced landing which resulted in a few broken ribs. She promptly taped herself up saying: "Who ever heard of a rib stopping a derby."

Vera flew a Curtiss Robin in the derby and had quite a few adventures. When asked about flying in the race she said "it's nothing to talk about." We just did it, and that was the way that it went..." Vera went on to fly for another few years after the derby and worked as a sale representative for different aviation companies. She also flew in the Dixie Derby and the California Goodwill Air Derby. By 1932, Vera developed tuberculosis and for health reasons had to fold her wings. She continued to champion female pilots and stay in touch with many of the women in the derby., however. Years later Vera would relay to aviatrix Melba Beard that the derby was one of the highlights of her life. There is now question this pint sized pioneering pilot took giant steps as she broke through the clouds.

BTTC is available on DVD

BTTC March 2013
This Award Winning Documentary is available on DVD. For more information, please visit:

The inspiring true story of 20 women who raced across America in 1929.  

Follow along as headline aviatrixes Amelia Earhart, Pancho Barnes, Phoebe Omlie, Bobbi Trout, Louise Thaden and other well known women pilots of the era race across the country in the summer of 1929.

Breaking Through The Clouds: The First Women's National Air Derby provides over two hours of captivating viewing. The women's personalities shine through with original footage from the derby, much of which has not been seen in over eighty years.

Beautiful and colorful aerial recreations place the viewer in the pilot's seat.

Interviews with legendary aviatrixes
Elinor Smith Sullivan, and Patty Wagstaff, noted aviation historians, and family members of the original pilots
help bring the story alive.

Included are 23 minutes of bonus
discussing the challenges the women faced during the race, what the women wore and more information about the planes & navigation in 1929. 

Available at:
BTTC Cost IS NOW ONLY $25. plus S&H

*Note:For those who do not like 
to order on-line or use pay pal,you 
may fill out this order form and 
mail a check:

Upcoming Events & Zonta

Fort Meade, Maryland
On Thursday, March 21st at 11am. Producer Heather Taylor will be giving a presentation at Fort Meade, Maryland entitled: Weaving the stories Of Women's Lives. Using clips of BTTC, Taylor will showcase many of the women of the derby and their contributions to aviation, women, and the country as a whole. The event is open to the public.

Great Barrington, MA
On Sunday, March 22nd, at 11am, BTTC will be shown. Producer Heather Taylor will be on hand to answer questions afterwards.

Miller Branch Library, Howard County, MD 
On Monday, March 23rd at 7pm, BTTC will be shown. Producer Heather Taylor will be on hand to answer questions afterwards. 

Merced, California
April 25, Details TBD: Taylor will be giving a presentation to the student body of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Chapter at University of Merced. Right now the date looks to be April 25th. Details will be posted on FB/Twitter and the BTTC Website as they are confirmed (initially this was a presentation that was going to happen in February). 


I was invited to give a presentation at the Essex County, New Jersey Zonta Club on January 26th. Zonta is a women's organization that "encourages women's teamwork, courage, risk taking and self reliance." Of course the women of the derby exuded all these attributes in spades. 

Amelia Earhart was a member of the Zonta International Club and every January, Zonta honors her by offering a scholarship in Amelia's name.

Unfortunately mother nature rarely considers human schedules as evidenced by my trials in attempting to get to NJ but persistence won out. With the anticipated blizzard for New Jersey on Jan. 26th, we rescheduled. The second date we picked also had to be rescheduled due to a partial building collapse at a library where I was planning to present. A third date was then postponed due to an in ice storm. Finally on Feb. 10th, the weather gave us a little window. I drove to the Aero Safety Training Center in Lincoln Park, NJ. Despite all the rescheduling, the event was well attended. I met the most interesting people who truly are working to carry on the Zonta Motto. Thanks to all who persevered and made the evening so wonderful.

What is Breaking Through The Clouds: The First Women's National Air Derby?

Breaking Through The Clouds: The First Women's National Air Derby is an award-winning documentary about  20 brave pilots, including Amelia Earhart, who defied convention by taking to the skies and racing across the country for the first Women's National Air Derby.
With just a compass and a road map to guide them, they faced cultural stereotypes, mechanical failures, threats of sabotage, navigational challenges and endless chicken dinners. The women persevered and became pioneering legends in aviation. Their story is inspiring to anyone who has the courage to follow their own dreams.  

Producer Heather Taylor had a calling to tell this inspiring story in the hopes of helping others to find the courage to search for their own path. While Heather hasn't had to deal with the endless chicken dinners like the women in the derby did, she does face the challenges of an an independent artist.  By spreading the word and supporting the film, you are helping Heather and other struggling artists reach for the sky in their own way and work towards breaking through the clouds. Thank you. 

Heather Taylor, Executive Producer
Archetypal Images, LLC
Join Our Mailing List
If you know someone who would like to receive these newsletter,s please feel free to forward to them and have them join the  mailing list.

Thank You & 
Ways to Help
BTTC has only been able to succeed because of individual support! It is very much a grassroots effort so I appreciate every single comment, thumbs up, mention and email I receive. It truly keeps me going to know the film touches lives in some positive way.

If you would like to help me keep it going, here are just a few simple (and free) ideas that can make a big difference:
  • Host a Viewing Party if PBS airs the film in your area or contact your local station to let them know you are interested in the film airing. 
  • Ask a community event planner or librarian if they would be interested in BTTC & have them contact me for the Public Performance Rights.
  • Write a Review on (under Archetypal Images, LLC listing of the film)
  • Post a positive comment (or thumbs up) on youtube underneath the BTTC clip  
  • Become a Fan of BTTC Face Book Page  
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Forward these newsletters
  • Introduce me to contacts who might be interested in screening BTTC  
  • Hire me as a speaker for an upcoming event or to answer questions after a private screening of the film.
All links for the social media are below.

Of course there are a myriad of other ways to help as well. The sky's the limit! If the film has touched you in some way, please feel free to email and let me know.

Thank you!
Quick Links for BTTC Social Media

BTTC Facebook Page has the latest updates as they happen
Like us on Facebook

BTTC TWITTER ACCOUNT: @breakingclouds
Follow us on Twitter

BTTC You Tube
Please click "like" and/or make comments. 

Receive the BTTC Newsletter

BTTC T-shirts Available

Did you know the logo on the t shirts is based on one of the trophies won in the 1929 Derby? You can briefly make out the trophy in the footage on race day in BTTC. 

Black BTTC AND white BTTC t-shirts are available for purchase. Below is what the front of a black t-shirt looks like. The back has written in the top middle part.  

If you would like a t-shirt, send me an email. The cost is $20 plus postage.
BTTC T-shirt (black).  White T-shirts with a black Logo are also available.

*PLEASE NOTE: If you haven't heard a response within a week, chances are  I did not receive the email. You may call me at 865-242-7551 to follow up, though my preference is email first so I can keep track of the order. Thank you. 

Archetypal Images, LLC | PO Box 1487 | Columbia | MD | 21044