Phil Lott And Ari Mark Talk ‘The Invisible Pilot’ And “Rogue” Nature Of Gary Betzner


The three-part documentary series The Invisible Pilot, directed by Emmy winning filmmakers Phil Lott and Ari Mark, centers on enigmatic former pilot Gary Betzner. A charismatic father whose daredevil streak led to an unpredictable life, Betzner vanished off a small-town Arkansas bridge in 1977. Lott and Mark talked to Deepest Dream about the mysteries behind The Invisible Pilot and discuss Betzner’s complicated nature.

“The Invisible Pilot” – Gary Betzner with crashed plane (HBO)

From vanishing off a bridge to transporting drugs during the 80s, Gary Betzner did not play it safe. A seemingly happy domestic life did not sway him to stay in one place, and The Invisible Pilot follows his engaging and oftentimes lawless journey.

“The Invisible Pilot” – White River Bridge, Des Ark, Arkansas (HBO)

Although The Invisible Pilot is ripe for a movie version, filmmaker Phil Lott sees the advantages of the documentary form. “People want authenticity,” said Lott. “There’s a reason why documentary series are having a bit of a moment . . . people want the truth. If you can present them with something that is truthful and you can prove that credibility and engender trust with the audience, it is a different type of experience.”

“The Invisible Pilot” – Polaroid of Gary with his Family (HBO)

As for Betzner, Ari Mark obviously sees the allure. “He’s an incredibly charming character,” said Mark. “He’s a lovable rogue. He’s the perfect central character because he is confusing. He makes decisions that are odd (and) wrong but for him that are absolutely right and natural. He is driven by this singular vision of what he should be doing. All those things that are sort of black and white to him seem very confusing to us. But that is what makes him interesting.”

Check out my interview with The Invisible Pilot filmmakers Phil Lott and Ari Mark:

Executive produced by Adam McKay, The Invisible Pilot is available to stream on HBO Max (new episodes of the three-part documentary series debut Monday evenings).

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