Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash Documentary ‘Street Survivors’ Set for Release
A new documentary film that chronicles the plane crash that killed several members of Lynyrd Skynyrd in October of 1977 is set for release. Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash will premiere on Feb. 16 in Hollywood.
The forthcoming documentary tells the story of the plane crash from the perspective of former Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle, who survived the crash and helped pull other members of the band and entourage out of the wreckage afterward. Pyle consulted with screenwriter and director Jared Cohn on the documentary for historical accuracy, and in a press release announcing the film's release, he says he's pleased with the results.
“This film’s story — my story — is not just about the plane crash but also about my personal relationship with the genius that was Ronnie Van Zant — whom I loved like a brother and still miss to this day,” Pyle states.
Van Zant was Skynyrd's original lead singer, and he died on impact along with guitarist Steve Gaines, vocalist Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray when the group's twin-engine Convair CV-300 went down in a swamp in Gillsburg, Miss., during a flight from Greenville, S.C., to Baton Rouge, La., on Oct. 20, 1977. The accident took place just days after the release of Skynyrd's fifth album, Street Survivors, and derailed the band for a decade.
Skynyrd reunited in 1987, with Gary Rossington, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson, Pyle and guitarist Ed King — who had left the band two years before the crash — joined by Ronnie Van Zant's younger brother Johnny as their new lead singer, and the group have continued on in various permutations ever since. Lynyrd Skynyrd are working the road for what has been announced as their farewell tour in 2020.
In typical Skynyrd fashion, the new documentary arrives after considerable drama. According to Ultimate Classic Rock, news of the film first surfaced in 2016, and in 2017, a judge halted production due to a lawsuit from the families of Van Zant and Steve Gaines and founding band member Gary Rossington, the sole remaining original member in the current band. The filing claimed that Pyle’s involvement in and profit from the film violated an agreement made by the band’s surviving members in 1987. An appeals court overturned the decision in 2018, allowing the film to move forward.
Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash is slated to premiere on Feb. 16 at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival. The film will get an expanded release to theaters in the Spring of 2020. A video on demand release and an official soundtrack are set to arrive simultaneously on June 30.
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