In Memory: Andrew Wight was killed in a helicopter crash on February 4, 2012
Andrew Wight is a underwater
explorer and film maker with an unusual background. He began his
career in agricultural science and has worked in scientific research.
He is a prominent and respected scuba and cave diving instructor,
commercial helicopter pilot and part time farmer turned adventure
Tell a little about yourself and your background
I have lead expeditions to dive and explore some of
the most remote and bizarre regions of the world including, Alaska,
Mexico, Canada, Florida, Cuba, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, New Caledonia,
Fiji, New Zealand, Gaudaloupe Island, Bahamas, Dominiocan Republic, Belize,
Dry Tortugas, Navassa Is, Costa Rica, Coccos Island, Galapagos Islands,
Lord Howe Island, Australia plus the shipwrecks of the Titanic and Bismarck.
I have produced 36 documentary films since 1988. My
Wight Productions gained an international reputation for making
award winning adventure television programs, screened in over 60 countries
around the world and have featured on National television in the USA
on NBC Dateline, Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel.
I was the producer for a 3D IMAX film Ghosts of the Abyss
(2003) directed by James Cameron released by Disney. I was the executive producer for a two hour television special directed
by James Cameron for the Discovery channel about the battleship Bismarck: Expedition Bismarck (2003).
What got you interested
in Pacific aircraft wrecks?
The story of the RAAF 75th Squadron Kitty hawks,
struggle to stop the advance of the Japanese in taking over the airfield
in Port Moresby inspired the story. Also a general interest and thirst
for knowledge about the war Australians fought in the Pacific.
Tell a little more about Winged
Ghosts of the Pacific
The area of WWII and the rich history in PNG
was intriguing and with many of the veterans still alive and accessible
to interview it seemed like a great project. It came from more personal
interest than anything else and fitted into an over all plan of adventure
for the TV series I was making. The show has aired in over 60 countries
world wide, US, UK Europe and South America
Tell a little about the process
of shooting the documentary
The answer to this question is a very long
one! Shooting a film in remote locations with a small team is difficult
and challenging. You have to be totally self sufficient and be able
to perform every task of the film making process. On these expeditions
we had a team of 5 people. Which by most documentary standards for a
program that required a lot of diving as well is extremely small. WE
did everything, the diving, script writing, filming, sound recording
and even the research. It was fortunate that we went to Rabaul when
we did as the volcano exploded soon after we had been there. Many of
the images we have in our film document what Rabaul was like before
What was it meeting
Allan Whetters, RAAF 75th Sqn Pilot?
It was a very emotional experience working
with the pilots, and especially Allan Whetters pilot of P-40E Kittyhawk A29-110 who couldn't believe that he was
able to relive and tactually touch a piece of his past. It would be great if Australian took more interest
in their history and that local networks like 9, 10 and 7 would get
behind well mad films instead of crappy reality shows but I think that
says a lot about many urban Australians who have quickly forgotten how
lucky we are and the sacrifices that were made by many young men during
the dark days of the war to protect what we have now.
What other types of work have
you been doing today?
I am currently making Expedition Bismarck about the battle
ship Bismarck with Titanic movie director James Cameron. The show is
due to air on December 8th in the US. We have
a project which may involve deep dive exploration to find some lost
American War ships in the Pacific. Thanks for the opportunity to share
something of my experiences, I wish I had a little more time to respond
but we are extremely busy the next two weeks finishing the film.