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Completion   /  Noni Couell

The Lost Aviator – The True Story of Bill Lancaster

Family history merges with tabloid legend in Andrew Lancaster's engrossing account of a vintage aviation-world scandal


Impact areas




  • DIRECTOR Andrew Lancaster

  • PRODUCER Noni Couell



Against his family's wishes, Andrew Lancaster opens up a cold case from 1932 where his uncle, Bill Lancaster, a pioneering aviator was on trial for murder in Miami. In an attempt to understand Bill's sometimes foolish actions, and at risk of tarnishing his family name, Andrew revisits this epic tale of high risk adventure, romance and scandal. Set in one of the most rebellious eras of our time, he reveals a love triangle gone terribly wrong and a mysterious discovery of a mummified body in the Sahara desert, along with a love letter found 29 years too late.

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

'The Lost Aviator' is an epic tale of Aviation, Adventure, Lust, Love, Betrayal, Murder and Mystery. The story itself is both compelling and cinematic, with director Andrew Lancaster, challenging his family and his audience, by opening up a cold case of murder, seeking out a modern version of the truth.
The story also has a huge significance historically: Australian aviatrix, Chubbie Miller being the first woman ever to fly from England to Australia, and Bill Lancaster's last flight being one of the greatest uncovered mysteries in the history of the Golden Era of Aviation. It's because of pioneering aviators, like Bill Lancaster, who risked their lives every time the flew, breaking ground so we can enjoy the safety and comfort of air travel, as we know it today.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

The style of this documentary and the way it is presented very much leaves the audience to decide for themselves whether they think Bill is guilty or innocent. Social networking sites such as Facebook provide a great platform for people to share their opinions and discuss in detail the themes explored in the documentary.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

'The Lost Aviator' is a feature documentary made for International film festival release, and is produced in association with Porchlight Films and Photoplay Films.

The film enjoyed it's world premier at 58th BFI London Film Festival in 2014 and has since had it's Nth American Premiere to 3 x sold out screenings at the 32nd Miami International Film Festival. The Australian premiere will be at the 62nd Sydney Film Festival, followed by a national theatrical release with Transmission Films.

The Lost Aviator will continue to show at film festivals around the world, including Bill Marshall's (Toronto IFF) new cultural festival in Niagara Falls in June.

Escapade Media have world sales and are currently discussing broadcaster opportunities in all territories.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

The film was completed in 2014 with the aid of crowdfunding and private equity.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

Support from Production Company Photoplay Films and Post production The Gingerbread Man made the final film possible.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

The film questions women's role in the 1920s and also questions family secrets.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

The response from Film Festivals and reviews can be viewed here: