Banned Film Festival (partially found film festival movies; date unknown)

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This article has been tagged as NSFL due to its disturbing subject matter.


Banned Film Festival logo.

Status: Partially Found

Banned Film Festival refers to a supposed collection of movies showcased at a presentation held prior to 13th March 2007. As its name suggests, the films showcased were for varying reasons refused a public release. The festival's existence was only confirmed thanks to one of its movies, the documentary Chopper Down: Helicopter Deaths in the Movies, being uploaded to YouTube.


On 13th March 2007, YouTuber japril1 provided the short documentary film Chopper Down: Helicopter Deaths in the Movies.[1] The 12-minute film sought to explore the sheer extent of helicopter-related accidents during filming, including some eyewitness accounts and expert opinions on notorious incidents in the 1980s that resulted in fatalities and serious injuries.[1] Prior to the documentary, a Banned Film Festival logo appears, followed by an explanation that HBO had banned the film from airing because it was concerned the documentary's contents could offend some of its key business partners.[2][1]

Chopper Down: Helicopter Deaths in the Movies

Chopper Down: Helicopter Deaths in the Movies focused on how helicopters had become the most dangerous hazard within the filmmaking business, two accidents having claimed six lives in 1989 alone.[3][1] The documentary first cites the Twilight Zone: The Movie accident that occurred on 23rd July 1982.[4][5][3][1] The most infamous helicopter accident in filming history, actor Vic Morrow and child actors Myca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen were killed instantly when a Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter was hit by pyrotechnics, detaching its rotor and causing the now-uncontrollable chopper to fall onto the three victims.[4][5][3] Four of the six passengers also suffered minor injuries but survived the accident.[5] An NTSB investigation concluded that the helicopter was flying too low to avoid serious damage from pyrotechnics, its low altitude influenced by improper communication between the pilot and the film director John Landis.[5][3]

Despite the NTSB's recommendations that strict regulations of all aircraft be enforced during filming, other fatal helicopter accidents would materialise, resulting in a further eleven deaths and 13 injuries during the decade.[3] On 18th January 1985, during filming for the television series Airwolf, stuntman Reid Rondell died when the helicopter he was on board crashed on a hillside near Newhall, California, the accident also seriously injuring the pilot Scott Maher.[6][3] On 30th May 1987, a chopper utilised for the film Braddock: Missing in Action III crashed into the Manila Bay, Philippines, claiming the lives of four Filipino soldiers and injuring five others.[7][3] On 28th June 1989, stuntman Clint Carpenter died during filming for Hired to Kill, when the helicopter he and four others were on board crashed after failing to execute a fly-by scene in Corfu, Greece.[8][3] The other occupants, including two other stuntmen, stunt coordinator, and pilot, received various injuries.[8][3] It led to director Nico Mastorakis claiming that "We either have to stop using helicopters altogether or stunt pilots should refuse to fly these choppers."[3]

The documentary primarily concentrates on an accident that transpired during filming for Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection.[9][10][3] On 16th May 1989, a helicopter was had taken off in Tagaytay, Philippines, carrying eight film crew members.[9] Suddenly, a loud noise was heard, allegedly after the helicopter's tail hit a wall, causing the helicopter to veer left and become uncontrollable.[10][9] It ultimately crashed down into a 40-foot ravine, instantly killing electricians Don Marshall and Mike Graham, and cameraman Gaddi Dansig.[9][10] Pilot Jojo Imperial and actor Geoff Brewer both later passed away in hospital.[10][9] Further, several others were injured; among them was actor Mateo Gomez, who recalled hearing a loud boom after the tail hit the aforementioned wall. Gomez suffered severe facial injuries, and his subsequent emergency surgery almost resulted in his right eye being amputated. Filming was subsequently ceased for six weeks.[11] The accident drew further scorn against Cannon Films, as they were also involved in filming Braddock: Missing in Action III.[9][3] They had also produced Runaway Train, where pilot Rick Holley was killed on 9th March 1985 during filming in Alaska when his helicopter collided with a power line.[12][3]

The film would have been aired on the Movie Time channel prior to being banned by HBO.[2] Movie Time was renamed to E! on 1st June 1990.[2] As it discussed the Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection accident, the documentary would have been produced after 16th May 1989 and before June 1990.[2] Thus, the film was locked away for nearly 20 years before its showcase at the Banned Film Festival and its uploading onto YouTube.


Therefore, Banned Film Festival would have arisen sometime between May 1989 and March 2007. According to Lost Media Wiki user forlornjackalope, this Banned Film Festival is highly obscure as other films supposedly sourced from the event have never been found.[1][2] Despite their best efforts, no further information, including regarding when it occurred and what other movies were showcased, were uncovered during their research.[1][2] Had Chopper Down: Helicopter Deaths in the Movies not surfaced, the festival would likely have remained forgotten.[1]



Chopper Down: Helicopter Deaths in the Movies


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Internet Archive upload of Chopper Down: Helicopter Deaths in the Movies with forlornjackalope noting its connection to Banned Film Festival ad the lack of other information surrounding the event. Retrieved 26th Feb '23
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 r/ObscureMedia discussing Banned Film Festival and the only found film connected to it. Retrieved 26th Feb '23
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 Deadline summarising various helicopter accidents that occurred during filmmaking. Retrieved 26th Feb '23
  4. 4.0 4.1 History summarising the Twilight Zone: The Movie accident Retrieved 26th Feb '23
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 NTSB reporting into the Twilight Zone: The Movie accident and its recommendations for regulating future aircraft usage in filmmaking. Retrieved 26th Feb '23
  6. The Los Angeles Times reporting on the Airwolf accident. Retrieved 26th Feb '23
  7. The Los Angeles Times reporting on the Braddock: Missing in Action III accident. Retrieved 26th Feb '23
  8. 8.0 8.1 UPI reporting on the Hired to Kill accident. Retrieved 26th Feb '23
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 The Los Angeles Times reporting on the Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection accident. Retrieved 26th Feb '23
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 AP reporting on the five fatalities of the Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection accident. Retrieved 26th Feb '23
  11. The Chicago Tribune noting that filming for Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection was halted for six weeks following the accident. Retrieved 26th Feb '23
  12. Alaska Rails summarising the The Runaway Train accident. Retrieved 26th Feb '23