Mayday, also known as Air Crash Investigation(s) in the United Kingdom, Australia and Asia and Air Emergency and Air Disasters in the United States, is a Canadian documentary television programme produced by Cineflix investigating air crashes, near-crashes and other disasters. Mayday uses re-enactments, interviews and computer-generated imagery to reconstruct for its audiences the sequence of events leading up to each disaster. In addition aviation experts, retired pilots and crash investigators are interviewed explaining how these emergencies came about, how they were investigated and how they could have been prevented.
Cineflix started production on Template:Nowrap, with a CDN$2.5 million budget. Cineflix secured deals with France 5, the Discovery Channel, Canal D, TVNZ, the Seven Network, the Holland Media Group and the National Geographic Channel, to take Mayday to 144 countries and 26 languages. The series was received well by critics and nominated for a number of awards. Sharon Zupancic won a Gemini Award for her work on the Mayday episode, "Lockerbie Disaster" UNSW's senior lecturer, Raymond Lewis, conducted a study on teaching strategy loosely based on the series. Lewis' results indicated using the strategy had "a positive effect on learning outcomes."
The series features re-enactments, interviews, eyewitness testimony, computer-generated imagery, and in nearly all of the episodes, cockpit voice recordings to reconstruct the sequence of events to the audiences. Several passengers and crew members (whether they survived the incident or not) are picked and actors/actresses play the role of those passengers and crews throughout the flight usually starting from boarding of the flight. The flight routines in the air traffic control, cockpit and cabin are recreated on screen starting from departure up to the moment of the emergency. At the moment of the emergency, external view of the aircraft from different angles are recreated to show the effect and what had happened to the aircraft. The responses and reactions of the passengers, crews and air traffic control leading up to the eventual crash or emergency landing are then recreated. All the scenes in cockpit and air traffic control centers are recreated using the actual script obtained from the cockpit voice recorder of the aircraft and other recordings made at the time.
Throughout the episodes the victims or relatives and friends of victims are interviewed. In addition aviation experts, retired pilots and investigators are interviewed on the evidence and explain how these emergencies came about and how they could have been prevented.
Production and distributionEdit
Cineflix started production for Mayday on Template:Nowrap, with a CDN$2.5 million budget, after Channel Five commissioned the six-part one-hour series. To keep the costs down most of the production was kept at Cineflix's Toronto offices in Toronto, Canada. While in production the series was sold to France 5, Discovery Channel and Canal D. On Template:Nowrap, Cineflix announced that they sold the series to TVNZ, the Seven Network and the Holland Media Group, later on Template:Nowrap, a month before the airing of the first season, Cineflix announced that they secured a major international deal with National Geographic Channel to take Mayday to 144 countries and 26 languages.
- Main article: List of Mayday episodes
Template:As of, a total of 78 episodes of Mayday have aired including five "Science of Disaster" specials and three "Crash Scene Investigation" spin-offs. Thirteen episodes are now currently under production. List of Mayday episodes
The series has been received well by critics. Paul Mavis from DVDTalk recommends Mayday as "Harrowing and surprisingly emotional" and continues with "Never exploitive, [Mayday] not only ratchets up the suspense with its well-done action scenes, it validates them by showing us the human side of these horrific air disasters." Franck Tabouring from DVD Verdict said "It's a well-produced show with plenty of compelling information about tragic accidents, telling how some people survived and others didn't."
Sharon Zupancic won the 25th Gemini Awards for "Best Picture Editing in a Documentary Program or Series" for her work on the Mayday episode, "Lockerbie Disaster". Season five of Mayday was nominated in the 24th Gemini Awards for "Best General/Human Interest Series". A number of Mayday episodes was nominated in the Canadian Society of Cinematographers Awards, including: "Air India: Explosive Evidence" and "Fatal Distraction" in 2009; "Missed Approach" and "Miracle Flight" in 2008; and "Flying Blind" in 2004.
University of New South Wales's senior lecturer, Raymond Lewis, conducted a study on teaching strategy loosely based on the series. The study was done with prospective pilots studying the Aircraft Systems for Aviators undergraduate course. The results of the study shows "the use of air accidents and incident scenarios had a positive effect on learning outcomes."
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