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Filmmaker debuts “Ride the Sky”

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“Ride the Sky,” a film about skydiver Joan Carson, debuts Saturday at FLIC during the 10 a.m. screening session. 

Filmmaker Paul Gorman attended Redmond High School in Washington State during the ‘60s with Carson, who as a cheerleader was visible around the campus. 

A mutual friend kept Carson and Gorman connected. Five years after graduation, Carson put Gorman up when he was visiting San Francisco scouting for a rock band.

“(Carson) had just started skydiving,” Gorman said, “and was very passionate about it.”

Carson, whose skydiving nickname was “Beagle Boogie Babe,” asked Gorman to go skydiving, and he “politely declined.” 

Gorman connected with Carson again when she returned home to Redmond to recuperate at her parents’ home after two serious skydiving accidents — in one she broke her arm, in the other she broke both wrists.

The same friend called five or six years later and said Carson had died. 

“It just spun me,” Gorman said, partly because of the experience he had with Carson and partly because she was one of his first classmates to die. 

“(Carson’s death) was one of those things you never forget,” he said.

He had just finished a film and was looking for a new project. Carson’s story was rolling around in the back of his mind so he did a Google search and found a posting from a skydiver who knew Carson. 

Gorman learned that Carson had been in Medford, Ore. and had met some skydivers from Montana who had come down for the winter. Carson fell in love with one of the skydivers and returned to Montana with him. Her story grabbed Gorman.

“I wanted to know what motivated her. Why would someone who had had those serious injuries continue to skydive?” Gorman said.

“That’s why I decided to make the film — a quest to answer that question.”

That’s what makes Carson’s story interesting. Gorman said it’s something that’s universal and he thinks audiences will relate to it very well. 

Gorman will be in town for his film’s debut. 

His next film is set in Rome and follows a movie director with multiple personality disorders as he makes a vampire flick.

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