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Icon to produce documentary for Nat Geo Intl

MUMBAI: Icon Films has been commissioned by National Geographic Channels International, Thirteen and Channel 4, to produce The Airmen and The Headhunters.

The one-hour documentary will investigate the survival story of a crew of airmen shot down over the jungles of Japanese occupied Borneo during Word War II.

The Airmen and The Headhunters recounts how a US bomber crew, stranded in a snake infested jungle, were rescued by Dayak tribesmen – a tribe known for taking the heads of their enemies. The Dayaks fed and protected the airmen before leading them to the base of the maverick British special ops officer, Major Tom Harrisson, who was fighting a guerrilla war against the Japanese with a band of Australian Commandoes.

In what is the most unlikely survival story of World War II, the Airmen’s hopes of escape were left in the hands of the eccentric Major Harrisson.

Icon Films has secured an exclusive interview with the sole surviving member of the US crew, as well as interviews with a number of the Dayak tribes-people and Japanese and Australian veterans, which will be cut with documentary sequences, dramatic reconstruction and archive footage.

Icon Films CEO Harry Marshall says, “You couldn’t have invented this story – young American airmen, plane crashes, blow pipes, an airstrip made out of bamboo, jungle, headhunters, mad Englishmen, Japanese soliders, and a daring escape. Icon is thrilled to bring this story to a wider audience.”

The documentary director Mark Radice adds, 'It’s a rare opportunity to find an untold story from World War II that's as exciting as this one. And despite the fact that these events all took place over 60 years ago, we've uncovered a number of eyewitnesses who met the airmen and helped them to survive in the jungle.”

The film is slated for US broadcast on 9 November as part of the PBS series Secrets of the Dead, produced by Thirteen in association with – a public media provider.

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