Filmmaker Noel Dockstader on Point of No Return

We talk to filmmaker Noel Dockstader about the making of “Point of No Return.” This is the first documentary feature film  of Dockstader and his film parter Quinn Kanalay. They like making environmental films and were looking for their next big thing when they came across an article on how Bertrand Piccard and  Andre Boschberg of Switzerland were working on a solar plane to fly around the world.

The  filmmakers took a leap of faith and flew to Switzerland and the first thing they saw was this big plane – Solar Impulse – and they were hooked. Solar Impulse had the wing span a little larger than a Boeing 747 and weighed about the size of a family passenger car and had no jet fuel and relied only on solar energy to fly explains Dockstader. 

Attached to the mission was an important message about the environment, climate change and using clean energy. And that is how the idea for making of “Point of No Return.” 

What was supposed to be a short project turned out to be a  4 year old project with lots of unexpected developments for the pilots and their crew of 120 people. The goal of the filmmakers was to make a film about a moment in history and the  big risks that the pilots were taking.  Instead of giving up the pilots and the crew persist to complete their mission. As  the pilots say, “Someone has to be first. Someone has to try.”  

Piccard and Boschberg seem like an unlikely pair to come together for this project. Piccard comes from a ”European adventure exploration royalty,”says Dockstader and adds, “(Piccard’s)  grandfather built the first hot air balloon and was the first one to see the curvature of the earth.” Piccard’s father built the first submarine to explore the deepest trench in the ocean and yet Piccard himself was afraid of heights. Boschberg is a fighter pilot, engineer and an entrepreneur and he was “push the boundary kind of teenager,” shares Dockstader and “can fly  any plane and he is an extraordinary pilot, who flies with a feel….Flying is second nature to him.” 

We were also curious to find out what drives Dockstader to make films about people pushing boundaries. Tune in to find out how Dockstader  pursues his passion and thirst to follow the adventure side of people who like to push boundaries.

This interview aired on TV in the US.

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