Arts and Entertainment

Reality on the high seas

The U.S.S. Nimitz, the focus of the PBS documentary series, “Carrier,” at sea.  - Courtesy photo
The U.S.S. Nimitz, the focus of the PBS documentary series, “Carrier,” at sea.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

In 2005, the crew of the U.S.S. Nimitz welcomed a crew of 17 filmmakers aboard during its deployment to the Persian Gulf in support of the War in Iraq.

The PBS film crew director, Maro Chermayeff, was looking to make a character-driven documentary series in a high-stakes environment. With fighter jets rocketing off the end and returning to the flight deck, the ship’s belly full of enough ammunition to demolish a small country, suffice to say she found one of the highest stakes environments there is. But what the crew found that was even more high drama than the environment itself, were the fervent real-life characters — the individuals in service of the country and the personalities that make up the floating city of sorts that is a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.

“Who are these kids who are serving ... do they know what they’re doing, do they know where they’re going ... are they afraid, are they courageous ... who are they?” Chermayeff posed the premise of the series titled “Carrier.”

The show premiered April 27 and will return to the air at 10 p.m. June 25.

Bremerton’s Admiral Theatre is hosting a free, special screening of the series, presented by KCTS 9, Seattle’s PBS affiliate, at 7 p.m. May 29, 331 Pacific Ave. in Bremerton.

In conjunction, local sailors will participate in a panel discussion about their own experiences aboard an aircraft carrier.

“It’s the most expensive waterfront property in the world,” Nimitz Command Master Chief Christopher L. Penton said to describe a carrier the in the series.

Other sailors aboard the Nimitz gave descriptions ranging from “a big floating high school” to “the closest someone who hasn’t been to prison will ever get to going to prison” to “a small town” that just happens to be floating on the water, 1,092-feet long and headed to the Persian Gulf.

More so than just getting to know the ship, the “Carrier” series aims to get to know the sailors, in 10 successive episodes addressing the larger themes confluent between them like family, faith, discipline and patriotism.

“We spent real time with these people, we lived through a shared experience with them and the viewer has that same hands-on experience,” Chermayeff said. “There’s no fourth wall, it’s just you and them.”

For more information on the series go to www.pbs.org and search “Carrier.” To share your own stories go to www.kcts9.org.

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