20 February 2017

Inspiring the return of Sally Pearson

Scott Gullan, Herald Sun
Printed: January 28, 2017 8:00pm

“For the first time Pearson was genuinely questioning her future and she certainly didn’t expect to find any answers on a plane from Sydney to the Gold Coast. But one right click on the in-flight movie selection changed the Olympic hurdles champion’s mindset almost immediately.”

18 January 2017

2 big wins at Whistler Film Festival

The World Documentary Award sponsored by Super Channel was a tie between SLED DOGS directed by Fern Levitt and THE WILL TO FLY directed by Katie Bender and Leo Baker. The jury deliberated and had a hard time picking a winner but there was consensus on the top three films…

…In an unanimous decision, the judges have chosen “THE WILL TO FLY as the winner of this year’s Mountain Culture Award for the way in which it drew the audience into the subject matter, capturing trials and victories of athletic and psychological determination. It was obvious that the filmmakers clearly put absolutely everything into this film and the telling of Lydia’s emotional and personal story.”

16 June 2016


Mornings with Nicole Dyer
16 June 2016 , 12:41 PM

Lydia Lassila talks with Nicole Dyer of ABC Radio Gold Coast, talking about the Gold Coast premiere of The Will To Fly, following the announcement of a new world class training facility to be constructed in nearby Lennox Head, Northern New South Wales.

14 June 2016


By Nicole Jeffrey

It has been 10 years in the making, but Australia’s Winter Olympic leaders finally have the green light to build a water ramp facility they believe will underpin future international success.

NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres will today announce the $10 million facility will be built at the Lake Ainsworth Sport and Recreation Centre at Lennox Head in subtropical northern NSW.

The godfather of Australian winter sport, Olympic Winter Institute chairman Geoff Henke, believes a screening of a documentary on Lassila’s preparation for the Sochi Winter Olympics, The Will to Fly, in the NSW parliament house this year achieved the breakthrough. Ayres and his office staff all attended, as did Treasury staff.

“That’s when they understood what it was all about,’’ Henke said.

Simon Storey: Filmblerg.

Australians love sport. It’s a part of this nation’s character as indispensable as the ANZACs, casual racism and having a sausage in bread when you go to Bunnings on a weekend morning. Once a year a horse race stops the nation and our sporting heroes sit alongside military generals and politicians as the icons of this land – Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Douglas Mawson, Lionel Rose, Dawn Fraser, Rod Laver and Phar Lap. Think of Australia and you think of our sporting culture. What you’re less likely to think of is the Winter Olympics, after all who actually does think about the Winter Olympics except for Scandinavians and comedians looking for any easy target.

There are only a few mountains in the Alpine region that get regular snowfall each year (interesting fact though: the Snowy Mountains receive more snow each year than Switzerland gets as a whole) and yet with limited training facilities and only a few months of the year where the powder is good enough to ski on, Australia has produced in the last three decades one of the most successful women’s aerial skiing teams in the history of the sport. It is the only sport in which Australian women have won more Olympic medals than the female category of any other event, even with some fairly staggering injuries. It’s said that Australians at the Winter Olympics are like a Ferrari – they break down a lot, but boy do they look good and run smoothly…

15 March 2016


Screen Australia: The Screen Blog. By Caris Bizzaca.
Posted 15th March 2016

With her history in women’s sport, aerial skier turned filmmaker Katie Bender became the perfect person to tell Lydia Lassila’s inspirational story.

 |  By

There is one sport, and only one sport, in which Australian women have won more Olympic gold medals than the female athletes of any other country. Care to guess which sport?

We’ll put you out of your misery. It’s aerial skiing, the Winter Olympics event which combines the acrobatics of gymnastics with the thrills and spills of ski jumping. Our most recent female medalist in said sport is Lydia Lassila. Her story is so remarkable, they’ve just made a movie about her called “The Will To Fly” which starts screening around Australia this weekend.

12 March 2016


On their first podcast episode, Alex First reviews The Will To Fly with Chris Coleman giving it 8.5 / 10

Review by Louise Keller – URBAN CINEFILE

Originally published 10 March, 2016.

It takes a while to understand the rhythm of the sport as former champions talk about Lydia as well as their own experiences. Highly dangerous, there is ‘a big wow factor’, as we watch first hand the extraordinarily difficulties of training and preparing for the major Olympic Events. The film plays much more successfully as a documentary than the upcoming Eddie the Eagle, another sporting success story, whose treatment never lives up to its elements.

09 March 2016



A surprisingly compelling sports documentary, The Will To Fly traces the long and winding path taken by Lassila to reach this career-defining moment.
Most contemporary docos on sports subjects are straight exercises in brand management, and invariably tend towards bland homage. Not this one.