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About the film

Paul Moller at Moller International Headquarters

volant |ˈvōləәnt| – adjective: capable of flying in a light and nimble manner

Volantor is an investigative documentary about the history of Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) vehicles and roadable aircraft or, in more colloquial terms, flying cars. The film will tell the story of esteemed inventor and engineer Paul Moller and his 50 year long journey to bring his M-400 Volantor “Skycar” to the market. Having seen the rise, fall and rebirth of the flying car dream through the late 20th century, Dr. Moller’s story will take us through a history of ambitious pilots and engineers who lived and died to bring our vision of the future to life.

The film will also shine a light on the introduction of automation into the aviation industry and discover what it will mean for the future of the pilot and civilization. Much will be riding on the success or failure of the Skycar’s inaugural flight. A transportation revolution is upon us and a handful of courageous individuals may lead us to a fast approaching future.

Paul Moller in front of his famous M400 Volantor Skycar.

Paul Moller

Like the Wright brothers and Leonardo Da Vinci before them, Paul Moller’s childhood dream was to fly. In his 2009 TED Talk, Paul recalled a memory from when he was 5 years old of being mesmerized by the light and nimble manner in which a hummingbird flies. It became his life long dream and intellectual obsession to achieve that sensation for himself. In 1989, his dream was almost granted. Paul stepped into a prototype of his M200-Volantor, flying-saucer shaped, Vertical Takeoff Vehicle (VTOL) and, before a gathered audience of bystanders and journalists, hovered 10 feet off the ground demonstrating the unparalleled stability of the vehicle. This was no flying boat, rocking at every breeze and shift of weight, but an entirely new form of transportation, one that Paul had been trying to bring to the market since his first advertisement of the vehicle in October of 1974.

The M200 Volantor is the only vehicle that Dr. Moller has ever conducted manned test flights with.As Moller exited the vehicle, exhilarated at having lived where so many test pilots of government-built prototypes had died, he was still unfulfilled. 10 feet, after all, wasn’t exactly flying. Though he continued to speak of the M200’s imminent availability on the market place, Paul soon unveiled his next project: a vehicle capable of hovering like the M200, but at a ceiling of 25000 feet and flying at a cruising speed of 300 miles per hour. Despite its plane-like appearance, this vehicle has become frequently referred to as a “flying car” or “Skycar” by the press.

Today, Paul Moller is preparing for another test flight: the first manned flight of the M400-Volantor (the “Skycar”). Although the past 15 years have put Paul through mounting widespread criticism, they have also witnessed an incredible explosion in technology and computing. Introduction of the vehicle to the marketplace had taken a stand still, but Paul, a man of infinite curiosity and creativity, continued through all economical hardships developing and improving his dream machine. In October of 2011, Paul Moller’s vehicle will once again take to the sky.

Burt Rutan

Burt Rutan

A pioneer in the aviation world, Burt Rutan is famously known as the designer behind the record-breaking Voyager aircraft, which was the first plane to fly around the world without stopping.

Along his illustrious career, Rutan continued to set trends for the aircraft and spacecraft industries. In 2011 he introduced a prototype for a roadable aircraft: a flying car. Rutan’s runway based Bipod achieved forward flight within a single year of construction. Currently Burt Rutan is developing the world’s largest aircraft with Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen.

Julie Clark

Julie Clark

America’s flying sweetheart, Julie Clark has flown over 60 types of aircraft over her 40 year career as an airline and air show pilot. Like the American flag, Julie proudly displays red, white, and blue as she entertains thousands around the country. Aware of the declining number of pilots, she worries about the future of aviation for upcoming generations. Poised to make a difference, Julie Clark continues to educate and mentor aspiring aviators young and old.

Paul Moller’s M400 Volantor Skycar

The M400 Volantor is the culmination of Paul Moller’s life’s work. Ultimately, it will be able to carry 4-6 passengers and travel at speeds as high as 300 MPH. She is a true beauty, but has yet to have her first manned flight. This October, all of that will change. For full specs on the vehicle, click here.

Terrafugia’s The Transition

Terrafugia is soon to become the first company to have a roadable aircraft available on the market. This 5 year old company brought together engineers and MBA’s from MIT to finally bridge the gap between plane and car. Though it operates on completely different technology from the Skycar, Terrafugia is leading the pack in making a roadable aircraft a commercial product.

All photos courtesy of Terrafugia.com

Urban Aeronautics’s Air Mule

Although the Air Mule does not have wheels, it is considered a “power lift” vehicle like the Skycar. Urban Aeronautics is an Israeli company that is developing “Fancraft” vehicles primarily for military applications. For more information on the vehicle, click here.

All photos courtesy of UrbanAero.com

Chris Malloy’s Hover Bike

Chris Malloy has been working solo developing a two fan “flying motorcycle.” Like Moller and Urban Aeronautics, he has only conducted tethered test flights, but has already independently raised $72k+. For more information on the vehicle, click here.

All photos courtesy of Hover-Bike.com

Burt Rutan’s BIPOD

Famous aviator and inventor Burt Rutan’s final creation was this two seater roadable aircraft. For more information on the vehicle, click here.

All photos courtesy of Scaled.com

The Crew


Scott Hardie - Director of VolantorScott Hardie
Director

Scott is a recent graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts MFA program in cinema production. Before coming to USC, he directed a feature length documentary entitled, Harvest Young, a film about the marketing practices of the California wine industry. The film premiered at the Sonoma International Film Festival. At USC, Scott directed several projects including an award winning short about a dysfunctional mafia family entitled, The Family, that went on to play at various film festivals around the country.


Konstantin Brazhnik - Producer of VolantorKonstantin Brazhnik
Producer

Konstantin is also a recent graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts graduate program in cinema production with a focus in producing. Before film school, Konstantin had already written, directed, produced, shot, and edited dozens of short documentaries while working for the University of Virginia Alumni Magazine. At USC, he produced Scott Hardieʼs film The Family and then directed Amelie and Alchemy, a short documentary about a photographer, with Scott as the cinematographer. In total, Konstantin produced 8 films at USC ranging from animated thesis films to longer documentary projects. For more details, visit www.konstantinfilm.com


Andrew Jeric - Director of Photography for VolantorAndrew Jeric
Director of Photography

Andrew is currently in pre-production on his thesis film at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. From day one of the program, Andrewʼs visuals set his films apart from the pack. He created a standard for digital filmmaking that very few other DPʼs, amateur or professional, can match. Andrew is also a recipient of the the prestigious Thomas B. Bush award for excellence in cinematography. He has DPʼed countless projects over the past 4 years and is eagerly awaiting a chance to do so on this project.


Fabrizio Mancinelli - Composer for VolantorFabrizio Mancinelli
Composer

Fabrizio graduated from the USC Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television Program in 2009. While at USC, he scored dozens of short films including Scott Hardieʼs The Family. He has been awarded the Fulbright Grant and the Michael Vinciguerra Fund Award. He assisted and worked with famed operatic composer Gian Carlo Menotti in 1998 and 2001 as his assistant. Fabrizio composes original music for award winning Film, TV, and documentaries in L.A. and Italy. Most recently, he composed music for the daily Italian TV show Agorà on Rai TV – Italian State television.


Zack Wilson - Editor of VolantorZack Wilson
Editor, Sound Recordist

Zack is currently finishing his studies at the Chapman Graduate Film Program, with a concentration in film editing. He is a long time collaborator with Scott Hardie and was the editor for Scottʼs feature documentary, Harvest Young. He has also edited multiple short films and commercials in San Francisco and Los Angeles.


Darshan Kembhavi
Editor

Darshan Kembhavi’s true passion has always been story telling, be it fiction or non-fiction film. He moved to Los Angeles in 2008 to attend the graduate program in Film and TV Production at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. During his time there his knowledge for writing, directing and editing grew immensely. His films have mainly been about the Indian Diaspora identity crisis and much more. Darshan was born and raised in Mumbai, India and graduated with a degree in Electronics Engineering from Mumbai University in 2006. His problem solving skills from engineering have helped him to become a director who can operate under immense pressure. He is presently editing a feature documentary called ‘Face of a Nation’ which is about building International relations through the medium of Architecture between countries at the Shanghai World EXPO 2010.


Special Thanks

We owe a special thanks to all of the following people for helping us bring this film to the big screen.

  • Jesse Levin
    $100 Contributor on IndieGoGo and our first donation!
  • Christopher Sabbatini
    $100 Contributor on IndieGoGo
  • Jeffrey Foss
    $100 Contributor on IndieGoGo
  • Katina M. Stamper
    $100 Contributor on IndieGoGo
  • Michael Shawver
    $100 Contributor on IndieGoGo
  • Adam Hamilton
    Contributor on IndeiGoGo
  • Stephen Smith
    Contributor on IndieGoGo
  • Sandra Farkas
    Contributor on IndieGoGo
  • Dave Turner
    Contributor on IndieGoGo
  • Adam Kerpelman
    $100 Contributor on IndieGoGo
  • Director’s Thanks

  • Nevin Schreiner
  • Laura Rosenberg

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