Now Streaming: The Limit Is the Sky with As the Crow Flies

By Pat Mullen

Touch the skies with As the Crow Flies, a hidden gem from the NFB that finally lands for audiences to see. The film, now streaming for free at, offers a bird’s-eye-view of youth. As the Crow Flies observes 18 young recruits, finding special affinity for the female flying aces, among the Royal Canadian Air Cadets as they undergo an intensive seven-week training program to obtain their pilot license. Director Tess Girard takes audiences to the skies with some exquisite aerial shots that capture the cadets soaring towards their goals, while also highlighting the strength of the program’s unique training regime having graduated from it herself and shot the film high in sky.

“As the Crow Flies is not a film about flight,” says Girard in her director’s statement. “It is a film about discovering ourselves through personal achievement and new perspectives. Coming of age is not about becoming someone else or growing into someone new. It is about growing to understand the self in conjunction with our surroundings; embracing it in all its awkwardness, shortcomings, beauty, and potential.” The director draws upon her experience within the program to convey how the transformative years of adolescence reframe one’s perspective with the soaring cinematography letting one see the world—and youth—from a new vantage point.

Watch _As the Crow Flies _today from the NFB:

As the Crow Flies, Tess Girard, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Synopsis: Eighteen teenagers. Seven life-changing weeks.
Every summer, the Royal Canadian Air Cadets offers its top cadets the chance to participate in an elite flight-training camp. As the Crow Flies follows a group of these young men and women as they undergo seven weeks of training to get their pilot’s license in an intense program that normally takes six to eight months. Casting an especially affectionate and empathetic eye on her female subjects, filmmaker Tess Girard—herself a graduate of the program—creates a unique and intimate portrait of an extraordinary, yet also very recognizable, group of 17-year-olds as they come of age. As one cadet says, the program is “not only learning about flying, but also about how intricate everything is.”