Breaking Through the Clouds: The First Women's National Air Derby Documentary to Show at EAA's AirVenture This Week

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The inspiring true story of 20 women who raced across America in 1929, presented by Archetypal Images, LLC.

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

This wonderful film highlights spunky, gutsy, brave women - women, whose go-for-it attitudes made aviation history. Patty Wagstaff, National Aviation Hall of Fame Inductee

With just a compass and a road map to guide them, Amelia Earhart, Louise Thaden, Phoebe Omlie, Pancho Barnes and 16 additional brave female pilots defied convention by taking to the skies and racing across the country to prove that flying was a safe mode of transportation and show that women could indeed, fly.

Breaking Through The Clouds, produced by Archetypal Images, LLC will be shown three consecutive days during AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the largest air show in the world. Screenings are scheduled Thursday, July 28th through Saturday, July 30th, 2011. The film’s Producer/Director, Heather Taylor, will be at the screenings and at Author’s Corner. A link to the schedule is here.

Taylor, who has worked 13 years to bring the film to fruition said, “facing cultural stereotypes, mechanical failures, navigational challenges, threats of sabotage 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.”

Wearing breeches and goggles in the day and ball gowns in the evening, the pilots challenged stereotypes by proving women could be independent, competitive, self-sufficient, intelligent, competent, graceful and above all, really good pilots. This story has largely been ignored until now. The documentary Breaking Through The Clouds captures the women’s personalities and portrays the drama of the race, stressing the importance the derby made for women, aviation and the country as a whole.

Expertly researched, beautifully shot and edited, and filled with never before seen footage from the actual derby, Breaking Through The Clouds is a character driven documentary showing the trials and tribulations the women endured as they took off in Santa Monica, California and raced towards the finish line in Cleveland, Ohio. Aerial recreations in vibrantly colored planes like the ones the women flew in the derby put the viewer in the pilot’s seat.

Family members and friends of the pilots tell personal stories of the pilots throughout the film, adding an emotional edge to the film. National Aviation Hall of Fame inductee PATTY WAGSTAFF, aerobatic pilot JULIE CLARK, aviation historians, including Dorothy Cochrane, Curator of the National Air & Space Museum, round out the interviews giving perspective of the women’s amazing accomplishment. In addition, legendary pilot ELINOR SMITH SULLIVAN, in her last on-camera interview, describes some of the women in the derby and what it was like to fly in 1929.

Pat Thaden Webb, daughter of original racer Louise Thaden, said, “I'm so appreciative of how you portrayed my mother Louise Thaden's beautiful soul, and her determination and courage to be a great pilot, and what flying and flight meant to her. She, and the other 19 pilots who flew this first race, earned their right, and the right for all women, to be able to participate in the development of aviation. Your film is a real tribute to my mother and to the others, and I'm forever grateful that their forgotten story has come to the screen for all to see.”

Breaking Through The Clouds recently won an Award of Excellence from The Indie Fest. It is an official selection of the Landlocked Film Festival and Tulsa International Film Festival. It was a finalist for a prestigious International Documentary Association Award and has screened at several other film festivals, museums and conferences around the country. Visit for a full listing as well as more information and additional testimonies.

Breaking Through The Clouds: The First Women’s National Air Derby (sometimes referred to as the powder puff derby) is available on DVD at

About Archetypal Images, LLC:
Archetypal Images, LLC was founded by independent producer Heather Taylor in 2007 specifically to produce Breaking Through The Clouds. Taylor’s goal is to capture and harness the light that comes alive in peoples’ eyes when they find a passion and share this, inspiring others to find their path. Taylor can be reached at Heather(at)breakingthroughtheclouds(dot)com

*Note to Editors: A High-resolution photograph and various press material is available in the press section at

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