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Counterpoint: The U-2 Story

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United States of America,
The 1960 U-2 incident, told through the story of spies on different sides of the Iron Curtain, one of whom is the CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers. This tells the story of an American pilot who was shot down in a U-2 spy plane over Soviet Union and a Norwegian fisherman, Selmer Nilsen, who used a carnival as cover to spy on the U-2 for the Russians.
Physical formats available:
16mm, Betacam SP
Digital formats available:
Audio & visual:
Sound, Color
Director: Peter Davis
Color and B/W, 1940s-1970s
Intercutting shots of Russian spy Selmer Nielsen in Norway and CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers in Los Angeles. - B-roll of Nielsen w/fishing net. - B-roll of Powers pre-flight inspection of single-prop plane (audio of Powers saying he was caught, embarrassed the CIA, that it wasn’t his fault) - B-roll of Lockheed U-2 high-altitude spy plane taking off. - WS INT of radio station and disc jockey introducing Powers. - OTS of Powers giving flying traffic report. - Various b-roll of Powers flying, aerial footage of Hollywood Freeway, and WS of airborne plane.
WS of Nielsen’s fjord in Norway. - Various B/W shots of coal miners. - Various good B/W shots of a manufacturing line, fuselage of an aircraft, and installation of aircraft engine.
CU b-roll of a plane engine. - MCU interview of Powers talking about his first flight. - EWS of an airborne single-engine plane. - Various B/W shots of WWII German aircraft and soldiers, aerial footage of a fjord. - CU interview of Nielsen saying his parents began spying for the Russians in 1941. - Various B/W footage of bombed warships, aircraft, ships firing weapons in rough seas. - MFS of Nielsen rowing a boat with a child saying Russians spied from a cave w/b-roll of cave.
Various B/W b-roll of destroyed buildings and rustic structure w/children (audio of Nielsen saying he fled into the mountains in 1944). - Various B/W shots of Norwegians celebrating, a Norwegian flag and outdoor cooking. - Various B/W shots of collaborators going into a Norwegian courthouse. - Various b-roll shots of Nielson cutting and tossing a fish onto a dock, net, and water (audio of Nielsen saying that a Russian agent returned in 1948). - FS interview with Nielsen saying the agent demanded someone go to Russia with him. - B-roll WS of Nielsen’s house. - B-roll POV WS from a row boat passing the shoreline. - Various interview shots of Nielsen saying he had to go to Russia. - B-roll WS of a dock with a fishing net and house. - B/W footage of President Truman discussing the North Atlantic Treaty. - B-roll WS of a Nielsen walking - EWS of a fjord.
12:09-14:19 - Various B/W shots of airborne bombers. - Various B/W shots of a woman and pilot looking at each other and kissing. - WS of an aircraft named “Betty Jo,” - MFS of airmen turning a propeller. - WS of bombers on a runway. - Various shots from an Air Force film. - Various B/W b-roll of bombs, jets taking off, rice paddies strafed, and 1950s jets. - Various B/W b-roll of an American flag and airmen saluting.
14:19-17:37 - Various shots of Nielsen’s fishing boat. - MFS of a child rowing a boat and CU of Nielsen smoking (voice of Nielsen saying he agreed to spy). - B/W photograph of Powers w/two aviators. - Various interview shots of Powers saying the CIA used a new plane to spy on the Soviets. - Various B/W shots of a U-2 taxiing, aerial shot on runway, and airborne. - CU interview of Powers saying the U-2 is a thrill to fly. - Various good shots of airborne U-2 and photo of Powers in flight suit w/U-2.
17:37-21:50 - CU of hand on a boat steering wheel, WS of boat bow at sunset, CU of frothy sea. - Various b-roll of airborne U-2. - CU interview of Powers saying he didn’t consider himself a spy. - B/W ZO photograph of Powers in pressure suit standing next to U-2. - B-roll WS of a U-2 on runway. - Various B-roll shots of bumper cars, carousel horses, prizes, and roller coaster w/Norwegian flag. - B-roll aerial WS of Norwegian town. - Various B-roll shots of a directional sign, small boats, sign that says “Headquarters Allied Forces Northern Europe,” military plane on runway and hanger. - WS EXT shot of the Norrona Hotel ZI to rooftop sign. - MS EXT shot of hotel rooms. - MFS interview with Nielsen in a hotel room w/liquor, cigarettes and a newspaper saying he’d have parties in one room and his spy equipment in the other.
21:56-26:22 - Various B-roll shots of Nielsen in a field. - Panning WS of a fjord. - B-roll WS shot of a U-2 entering a hanger. - B-roll FS of an airborne U-2. - CU interview of Powers talking about going to Norway. - Aerial B-roll of Norwegian fjord, villages and countryside. - MFS ZI CU interview shot of Nielsen saying he obtained a picture of a U-2. - B-roll FS of U-2 taxiing, WS of runway and Norwegian harbor. - MS interview shot of Nielsen saying he’d find out pilots’ destinations during parties. - B/W photograph of Powers in a flight suit w/a U-2.
30:15-33:06 - B-roll graphic of a U-2 over a map of the Soviet Union. - MS interview w/Powers holding a U-2 model describing exploding over the USSR. - Various B/W footage of May Day in Red Square, Nikita Khrushchev waiving, crowds and picture of Lenin. - ECU ZO MS interview w/Powers holding a U-2 model describing the aircraft spinning and attempting to initiate the self-destruct mechanism. - B/W photograph of Powers captured. - WS ZI MFS interview of Nielsen in a bunker describing waiting for Power’s U-2 to arrive and receiving a message from Russia that it wouldn’t. - Various B/W shots of Khrushchev. - B/W photographs of self-destruct mechanism and poison needle from Power’s U-2.
33:06-37:02 - B/W photos of Andrei Gromyko and Khrushchev holding photos from Power’s U-2. - Various B/W shots of President Dwight Eisenhower defending the spy mission and journalists taking notes. - B/W EXT WS of the United Nations, a Russian addressing U.N, and photo of Khrushchev.
37:02-43:25 - Various B/W B-roll of Moscow U-2 exhibit. - Various B/W shots of TV interviews in NYC. - Various B/W shots of Khrushchev examining the U-2s wreckage. - MFS B/W photograph of Powers in Moscow looking at the wreckage (audio of Powers saying his spy mission was punishable by death). - MS to MCU interview with Powers discussing solitary confinement. - B/W footage of President Eisenhower at the Paris Summit and footage of Khrushchev using an ax. - B/W MS photo of Powers after being captured. - MCU interview with Powers talking about interrogation. - Various B/W shots of Power’s trial in Moscow (voice of Powers talking about the trial). - CU ZI to MCU of Powers reciting his plea. - MCU interview shot of Powers saying he was sentenced to 10-years.
43:25-47:23 - B-roll POV of boat bow. - CU interview with Nielsen saying the Russian’s placed a bomb in Power’s U-2. - B-roll FS of Nielsen in his kitchen. - B/W photo of Powers in Russia. - B/W CU shot of Powers after his release. - CU interview of Powers saying the CIA thouught he was a double agent. - B/W newspaper headline saying Powers should have killed himself. - Various B/W shots of Powers holding a model of U-2 at a Congressional hearing. - B/W MS of Powers telling reporters he followed instructions. - Various B/W shots of Powers at an event. - WS of Powers riding a minibike. - B/W photograph of Powers with Kelly Johnson and a U-2. - MS of Powers smiling in an orange flight suit next to a U-2.
47:23-51:47 - B-roll FS of reindeers ZO to WS of Nielsen smoking in a field. - B-roll WS of a helicopter landing in a fjord, soldiers jumping out and one pointing. - B-roll WS of a helicopter flying through a fjord. - B/W aerial shot of a fjord. - MCU ZO MFS interview with Nielsen saying the soldiers thought he was an idiot drunk. - MFS OTS shot of Nielsen and a fjord - B-roll EWS panning shot of a fjord. - Various shots of Powers moving a single-prop plane with “KGIL radio” written on it. - WS of a Lockheed hanger. - Good CU and WS of Powers taking off in single-prop plane with “KGILradio” on it (audio of Powers saying the CIA tried to prevent him from writing a book). - Various good shots of Power’s plane taking off, aerial view of L.A. and MS of Powers piloting the plane (audio of Powers saying why he wrote the book). - Various good INT shots of Powers flying (audio of Powers talking about losing his job at Lockheed after writing his book and not being able to find a good job since. - B-roll INT CU of Powers flying and WS of airborne plane. - B-roll WS of a bird flying in a fjord. - MCU ZO MFS of Nielson sitting in a field (audio of Nielsen saying he felt after getting caught). - B/W WS b-roll of Nielsen loaded onto a plane on a stretcher.
51:47-56:11 - Editorial cartoons of Powers and headline. - CU of poster for book event w/Powers. - Various shots of Powers at book event with cutaways of audience. - WS of Nielsen walking along the shore. - Various b-roll shots of the wrecked boat Nielsen took to Russia. - Various shots of Nielsen in a deserted house and in a row boat. - MS and CU shots of Powers holding a medal he received from the CIA (audio of him reading its inscription). - CU to ZU interview of Powers talking about the medal’s value. - B-roll CU to WS shot of U-2 taxiing away from the camera.
Counterpoint: The U-2 Story
The 1960 U-2 incident, told through the story of spies on different sides of the Iron Curtain. Mixed media collection relating to peter Davis’ film.