August 8, 2019

SkyGrazers – A Flying Farmers Story


Los Angeles-based filmmakers Annmarie and Chris Aronoff have produced a 73-minute documentary on the International Flying Farmers (IFF) association, featuring Manitoba farmers Colette Pierce and her husband Ken.

Annmarie Aronoff, who is originally from Regina, was inspired when she read about the organization. Through her Saskatchewan network of friends and contacts, she learned more about the IFF, which then led to her being connected with the Pierces. Aronoff was intrigued by the story of how Colette Pierce learned to fly in her late 50s, after a lifetime of dreaming about it.

“It’s about dreaming big,” Aronoff told the Regina Leader-Post. “That’s what our main characters did and that’s even what we did by making the film”. She added “It was great to see really powerful women doing some things that you don’t always see them doing on screen.”

As active farmers, the Pierces used their own planes and grass strips to check on livestock movements, transfer supplies and travel around their agricultural world. One year, Collette even became ‘Queen of the IFF’, as her leadership and influence in the organization grew.

Aronoff, who graduated from the University of Regina’s film department in the late 1990s, also tells the story of the IFF and how it is dying away as there are fewer and fewer family-run farms, having been replaced by corporate-owned large farm holdings. This in turn has led to fewer people owning and operating planes as a tool in the management of their farm business.

The documentary was screened recently at the Regina Flying Club and is now making the rounds at film festivals. Although not currently showing in any theatres, a DVD version is available for purchase on Amazon’s U.S. website for $25.

View the trailer here.