Fly Away Home - Production

Production

To recreate the Alden home, principal photography took place in 1995 at two farms near Lindsay, Ontario in southeastern Ontario. The township had also been the setting for A Christmas Story (1983), and later A Cool Dry Place (1998). The blacksmith shop constructed onsite for the filming of The Last Buffalo at Purple Hill, Ontario was re-used as part of the Alden homestead.

Two gliders were featured in the film: The UFM Easy Riser and the Cosmos Trike. The Easy Riser first appears as a foot-launched biplane hang glider. True to Lishman's real-life saga, modifications were made to improve the design including the addition of a motor and seat. Anna Paquin's character instead flies an A-frame Cosmos Trike with a mock goose head mounted to the noseplate of the airframe and a fabric wing covering painted to resemble feathers. The Cosmos Trike was reportedly chosen for its safety, superior engine power, and increased wing size (a feature that was needed to fly slow enough for the birds).

The four-day trip home for the geese that would take them to Lake Ontario, over the Appalachians to Pennsylvania, Maryland, finally settling on the Virginia Shores, had principal photography actually filmed nearly entirely at Port Perry and Sandbanks Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. Additional location shots were the city-fly-through in Toronto, Ontario standing in for Baltimore, Maryland (CGI aircraft). At the conclusion of the production, Lishman led the 60 imprinted "actor-geese" in migration, to winter at the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center on the coast of South Carolina.

While in production, the film was at first titled Flying Wild but was changed to Fly Away Home just weeks before its release in movie theaters. The original trailer has the title Flying Wild and can be found on certain copies of the Columbia Tri-Star Jumanji VHS Tape.

Director Carroll Ballard and cinematographer Caleb Deschanel previously collaborated on The Black Stallion and Never Cry Wolf with Fly Away Home being their third family film. Anna Paquin, who plays daughter to Jeff Daniels in Fly Away Home, would later play a love interest in The Squid and the Whale (2005). Upon the release of the Squid and the Whale, Jeff Daniels said that having had the previous experience made the filming a bit awkward for both of them.

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