Jamie Kastner Shares The Skyjacker’s Tale


When you walk into a room and meet Jamie Kastner for the first time, with his hip eye-glasses and cool pocket square, you wouldn’t think “yes, here’s a man who’s interviewed a hijacker”. After tackling the crazy world of disco with The Secret Disco Revolution, Kastner returns to the Toronto International Film Festival with a total opposite and contrasting film: a story about a hijacker.

If you followed the news stories from the 1970’s, you would have heard about Fountain Valley massacre, where eight people were gunned down at the Fountain Valley Golf Course in Saint Croix, United States Virgin Islands. Five men were convicted of the crime, and given eight consecutive life sentences, destined to die in jail for the crimes they committed.

One, however, made other plans.

Ishmael LaBeet – now known as Ishmael Muslim Ali – took advantage of a detention transfer to hijack American Airlines Flight 626, and force the plane to land in Cuba. He escaped and has, for over 4 decades, called the country home.

Through an interesting channel, Kastner learns of the hijacker living in Cuba and goes on a journey to tell his story, culminating in the TIFF 2016 premiering doc The Skyjacker’s Tale.

The film gets its theatrical release on January 20th, 2016, at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema.