Directed by Tess Girard, “As the Crow Flies” follows the journey of a group of young Royal Canadian Air Cadets as they take part in an intense flight training program to earn their private pilot’s license.

Typically, such a feat takes individuals six to eight months. For these 17-year-olds, they have seven weeks.

“As the Crow Flies” will resonate with anyone who has ever had a dream or taken a chance at accomplishing something that some might see as improbable.

Girard, herself a graduate of the program, beautifully captures the intensity and dedication of the cadets as they navigate the pressures of flight training while still maintaining a sense of mental grounding.

As one might expect of students involved in military education, the adolescents carry themselves with grace and collectedness far beyond their years.

There are touching moments in the film, however, where Girard captures the teenagers being teenagers, having fun and enjoying each other’s company, which is a very sweet reminder of their age as well as just how special their bonds have become over the course of the program.

One of the most memorable aspects of “As the Crow Flies” is the ethereal cinematography and Girard’s ability to capture the feeling of a moment through quiet closeups. While the scenic and aerial shots are enchanting, so are the tight intimate shots where you can feel the energy and magnitude of what’s at stake without the need for talking or voiceovers. When you manage to stay enthralled by a scene but can still hear your own heartbeat you know you’re watching the work of a talented filmmaker.

“As the Crow Flies” has its Australian Premiere at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival July 30th. It’s an unmissable feature-length documentary for anyone looking to be uplifted and inspired by what can be accomplished through hard work, dedication, and the belief in the power to soar.

For more information on the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, visit: