Reston, Virginia based company, Rock Creek Productions, Inc. is producing a historical documentary entitled The Big U. The film focuses on the life and times of the superliner SS United States and her Philadelphia born designer, William Francis Gibbs. The SS United States has been on the National Register for Historic Places since 1999. The filmmakers are aiming for a 2008 national release on PBS. “I sailed on the ship when I was a little boy, and it’s remained in the back of my mind all these years. I’ve learned what an instrumental figure Gibbs was in the success of our nation’s navy fleets at a time when the United States ruled the oceans. Now it’s time for America to hear and learn about these forgotten icons,” stated Rock Creek’s Vice President and Producer/Director Tim Phillips.
Most Americans are unaware of the historical significance the ship and her designer hold. In the early 1950’s the SS United States was considered one of the greatest technological achievements of the merchant marine and her designer, W.F. Gibbs, arguably one of the most influential naval architects of the 20th century.
Told through the oral histories of those who built the SS United States, worked aboard her, and traveled upon her, the filmmakers explore how William Francis Gibbs impacted
an entire generation of naval architecture and why so many were touched by his greatest accomplishment, the liner SS United States. Well known scholars and historians explore the technological ingenuity and advancements that epitomized America’s global supremacy following World War II with special attention to American manufacturing, labor, and of the end of an era in transatlantic travel.
Rock Creek Productions has signed a fiscal agreement with Durham, NC organization, The Southern Documentary Fund. The non-profit company gives The Big U project 501(c)(3) status, which allows all donations to be tax deductible. Both organizations hope to garner local and national support for the project. Additional partners in this endeavor are -- The Mariners Museum, Kings Point Museum
, The Steamship Historical Society of America, Gibbs & Cox Inc., Windmill Point Restaurant, and the S.S. United States Foundation as well as internationally recognized maritime experts Bill Miller and Frank Braynard.