From Oregon Humanities article about Ilana Sol’s doc:
Her heart beat faster as she opened the old metal canister and loaded the half-century-old, 16-mm film onto the table-sized viewer. She turned on the projector, and onto the screen sprang a pristine, black-and-white image of a giant white balloon floating through the sky. Sol gasped. After two years of reading and hearing about the balloon bombs, this was the first time she’d actually seen one.
It turned out to be a training film shot by the U.S. Navy in 1944-45, instructing authorities on how to defuse the Japanese balloon bombs. Sol immediately realized how vital such otherwise unavailable historical footage would be in her film. “I was so excited–I had to keep myself from screaming,” she remembers. Seeing the strangely beautiful yet murderous device in flight made it all real.
In 1945, an Oregon family died when they came across a Japanese balloon bomb while on a picnic near Bly, Oregon. In 1997, a group of Japanese women folded 1000 origami cranes, and brought them to Oregon as a peace offering.
Ilana Sol tells this story of war and peace in her first documentary, On Paper Wings.