Queen of Air: Joe Kriss and Annie Watson

Queen of Air: Joe Kriss and Annie Watson

Portrait of aviator Amy Johnson, wearing a tie and uniform, circa 1930. (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Working on the creation of ‘Queen of Air’ was an amazing experience.

It begun with research, reading Madge Gillie’s excellent biography and discovering Amy spent her student years in Sheffield living 5 minutes round the corner from my house which helped bring her alive to me. Its an incredible story. One of the key things I got from reading about her life was that she was an ordinary woman doing extraordinary things. I also started to think a lot about the risks she was facing, started to imagine what it must have felt like to fly for days on end in this tiny plane whilst open to the elements. These were the stepping off points for me with the poem. Her story was never just about the events in her life and her unfortunate death. Its also about the progression of technology, of female rights, of globalisation and of Hull itself. I tried to get all of those things in the poem too.
Annie Watson, the filmmaker, did an excellent job of finding and creating visuals that related to the poem. There are so many moments in the film that really flesh out some of the ideas in the poem, Amy’s vulnerability is illustrated perfectly by the slowly moving female figures. The shot of her plane landing projected onto the sea is haunting and beautiful. It was a real pleasure to see Annie’s film projected on all these public locations across Hull from 10pm-4am on a tuesday evening in Hull. There were times when people stumbled across us on their way home from the pub and started filming it on their phones, there were other locations where we were completely unseen by anyone else. Im really grateful to Amy Johnson Festival for the experience of working on this piece, and really excited now its out in the world. Hopefully people will see both Amy and their city a little differently after watching it.
Watch Queen of Air here.