Night Fliers – A film by Sara St. Martin Lynne

The Night Fliers Story

Already firmly in a life crisis at 12, things go from bad to worse for Jesse Hawthorne when her father moves the family to a rural town, a place whose beauty belies the toxic normality at its core. Jesse is almost immediately bullied by the local mini-mean girls in training, who find Jesse’s tomboy nature both repellent and yet somehow attractive. Her only ally is neighbor Jacob, who has his own demons (including an aggressive paint huffing brother) that he is trying to escape. Together they form likely friendships with the local super nerds, and, as puberty begins to hit their circle, everyone soon has a crush on each other, regardless of gender. Once Jesse and her outsider posse discover punk rock and sneaking out to shows, nothing will stop them as they embrace who they are and rise above the closed minds of their community.

Night Fliers Production

Night Fliers was shot over 26 days during the summer of 2005. The film was primarily shot in the Sierra Foothills in a town called Jamestown, which is where my mother was living at the time. One of the towns that we shot in was also the meth producing capital of the state. We shot in 114 degree weather.

We also shot a lot of Night Fliers in the Bay Area. We shot some of the kitchen scenes in the house I was living in at the time in San Francisco. We shot at a friends house in Oakland. We landed a full week of production at public arts charter that was on the cusp of moving into a school that had been abandoned, so we had blank walls to dress as we wanted to, and many eager extras.  Jesse’s bedroom was shot in part of our cinematographer’s office on Mission Street.

We were resourceful. Everyone worked so hard. One of the things that I will always feel so grateful for is how committed everyone was to bringing this story forth.

“Complete with an infectious soundtrack, Night Fliers will remind you about the transformative power of friendships, and how salvation can come from unexpected places.”


Night Fliers has an original film composition by Julie Wolf that heavily features the musicianship of Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls. Other artists on the soundtrack include Nicole Reynolds, Ferron and Bitch, and The Gossip and more.

The Night Fliers Pay What You Can (or nothing at all) Model

When I was coming of age, I yearned to see reflections of myself. I grew up in the age of John Hughes films. I wore out my VHS copy of Some Kind of Wonderful. But although Watts could beat the hell out of her drum kit and fix her classic car, but she was still pining and heart broken over her male best friend who was obsessed with winning the heart of  the head cheerleader. My friends and I saw very few reflections of ourselves and our friendships and romantic interests in the media.

  • Night Fliers is free because it should be seen by the young people for whom it was made, regardless of an ability to pay a rental fee.
  • Since its release, the Night Fliers DVD has been self distributed with some of the proceeds going to LGBT youth organizations.
  • Since its release Night Fliers has been offered to LGBT non-profits at no cost for benefit screening purposes.

In 2015, 60% profits for this film will be donated to organizations and projects that directly impact and empower girls.