Making the film Carrier required 17 filmmakers to take a six-month journey aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz during its deployment to the Gulf in support of the Iraq War. They disembarked from Coronado, California on May 7, 2005 and returned there November 8, 2005 with stops at Pearl Harbor, Hong Kong, Guam, Kuala Lumpur, Bahrain and Perth, Australia.
The trip proved an evolution for the film crew who spent the early weeks trying to find their place while the 5,000 sailors and Marines around them were too busy to take notice. Eventually, the film crew discerned the ebb and flow of life on a carrier, and began to feel more at home on board. The ship’s crew not only accepted them but also took a vested interest in the project, making suggestions on the best places to film and providing access to missions that helped capture the full experience of the deployment.
Jammed into their own staterooms, the crew that once felt apart now felt kinship as they shared both trepidation and jubliation awaiting the safe return of the carrier’s jet fighters. When the huge emotional surge of seeing home hit in November, the filmmakers knew how the Nimitz crew must feel. But back on land, their own mission of editing and production continued for nearly three more years before the film Carrier docked at PBS on April 27, 2008.