Professor's acclaimed film set for first screening in State College area

January 04, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — "A Wing and a Prayer," an award-winning documentary by a Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications faculty member, will have its first community screening Jan. 28 as part of Congregation Brit Shalom’s fourth annual Sunday Flicks.

The event -- which starts at 2 p.m. at the State College synagogue, 620 E. Hamilton Ave. -- is free and open to the public. It includes a pre-screening reception and a post-screening question-and-answer session with the film’s director and producer, Penn State assistant professor Boaz Dvir.

"A Wing and a Prayer" tells the little-known story of World War II aviators who risked their lives and U.S. citizenships in 1948 to prevent what they viewed as a second Holocaust. The documentary aired on PBS stations around the country in 2015-17 and is now available on Amazon Video, DirecTV and Sling TV. 

Named Best Documentary at the 2016 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, "A Wing and a Prayer" features firsthand accounts of daring escapes and heart-pounding action. Dvir secured exclusive interviews with the operation’s leaders, including mastermind Al Schwimmer, chief pilot Sam Lewis and Christian crew leader Eddie Styrak. Their tell-all interviews provide rich detail about a group of Jews and Christians who helped reshape history, yet have been forgotten by history books. 

“[The film] tells the story of how a few idealists effected change despite great obstacles,” wrote Ana Veciana-Suarez of The Miami Herald.

Narrated by actor William Baldwin ("Backdraft," "Squid and the Whale"), "A Wing and a Prayer" has screened in prestigious venues around the world, including the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan, the Library Film Festival in Jaipur, India, and the Columbia University Global Center in Paris.

Last Updated June 02, 2021