Short Film

Flying School: The Lost Masterpiece

See a high concept movie as never before, when a bumbling documentarian uncovers the original Top Gun, a buried 1980 John Cassavetes movie.


George Smith, a pompous documentarian looking for his ticket to Scorsese-an levels of respectability, hits the jackpot when he finds the original “Top Gun” buried in the bowels of Paramount: a John Cassavetes film made in 1980 and then bought by Sherry Lansing to be remade, and silently buried.

George interviews the “Meg Ryan” of Cassavetes’ original “Top Gun,” a slightly sentimental and highly unstable actress named Julianne Argerich, who leads us down memory lane and offers insights that only one of Cassavetes’ most wannabe friends can provide. But the richest moments of the film are the scenes themselves: the awkward reunion in the hangar on the first day of class, the car chase scene between “Charlie” and “Maverick” where she confesses his love, and the sexy, sweaty all-male volleyball game- every scene richer as originally intended, a small film shot in Cassavetes’ back yard with his usual cast, Gena Rowlands (in the role later reprised by Kelly McGillis), Ben Gazzara (in the role later reprised by Tom Cruise) and of course, John Cassavetes himself, talking their emotional demons out.

8 minutes

Julianne   Suzanne Dodd
T   Darline Ann Harris
George   Donald Squires
Gena   Phoebe Ventouras
Ben   Roddi Castroreale
Seymore   Gary Klavans
Peter   Mike Pasternak
Katherine   Gabrielle Conforti
Director   Christopher Touchton
Screenwriter   Christopher Touchton
Director of Photography   Aaron Proctor
Assistant Camera   Spencer Goodall
Production Company   FWD:labs
Gaffer   Drew Valenti
Grip   Alex Feuer
Make-up   Courtney Lane
Assistant Director   Nora Gruber
Production Assistant   Betsi Freeman