Red Tail Poster
March 30, 2009
For Immediate Release
Dawn Mikkelson
Emergence Pictures
NWA Outsourcing Film Sneak Preview at
Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival!

(St. Paul)- It all started in the fall of 2005, when the NWA mechanics, custodians and cleaners went on strike.  This spring, the story of one NWA mechanic who followed his job to China hits the big screen for a Sneak Preview at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival.
    "We are thrilled to share this film with the home town crowd first because it is ultimately their story," says Melissa Koch, one of The Red Tail's Directors (Koch partnered with Director Dawn Mikkelson on this film).  Filmmakers plan on a World Premiere later this year at a top international festival. 
    The film follows Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) member Roy Koch (Melissa's father) from his days as a striking NWA aircraft mechanic to his new role as a traveling detective who investigates where his job went.  "The film follows the Koch family, who refuse to be silent pawns in the chess game of corporate globalization.  The Kochs want to have a say in their own future and the future of the global working class," says Mikkelson. "The Red Tail" looks at our broken economic system, and how it encourages and rewards CEOs and upper management to line their own pockets instead of caring for the heart of a company: its long-term stability and life-long employees. It also shows the common struggles that workers experience worldwide and the endless nature of outsourcing.
  As the former Twin Cities' hometown airline, Northwest Airlines, disappears in its merger with Delta and crew begin wearing the new Delta uniform, the stories of the lives left behind still linger. "The Red Tail will make sure that the stories and legacy of Northwest are not forgotten," says Director Dawn Mikkelson.  This story is presented in the documentary, "The Red Tail."  Emerging filmmaker Melissa Koch and award-winning filmmaker Dawn Mikkelson followed the airline mechanics from the picket line to the bread line as they lost their jobs to outsourcing.  Notably, Koch and Mikkelson received unprecedented access in Hong Kong and Xiamen, China, two of the cities NWA mechanic jobs were outsourced to.
     "The NWA mechanics story is really a microcosm of what has been happening to American families for the last 20 years," Koch said,  "'The Red Tail' asks the question that millions of Americans have been asking, 'What can the average person do in the face of globalization and outsourcing?'
      Beyond the local cast and crew, music (coordinated by Babes in Toyland alum Lori Barbero) by Joanna James, Martin Devaney, Joanna James, Mike Gunther, Artifact Shore and a host of other top Minnesota artists create the soundtrack for the film.

See film Official Trailer at
See a 90 second press clip of "The Red Tail" online at

Available for Press Interview:
  • Dawn Mikkelson, Director/Producer
  • Melissa Koch, Director/Producer/Roy's Daughter
  • Roy Koch, Former NWA Mechanic/Subject
Event details:

What:    Sneak Preview of The Red Tail for Cast, Crew, and Additional Tickets available to General Public

When:   April 23, 2009, Time TBA

Where:  Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival, St. Anthony Main with AFTER PARTY at The Red Stag, featuring music by Big Trouble and DJ set by Toki Wright.

Tickets available online (coming soon!): $10 
We recommend purchasing tickets in advance, as we anticipate it will sell out.

The Red Tail (Synopsis):

At age 58, Roy Koch was looking forward to his hard-earned retirement from Northwest Airlines. Northwest, known as "The Red Tail" by its employees, wanted to lay off 53% of their mechanics, custodians and cleaners and outsource their jobs.  What followed was a 444 day strike that would end with 4,000 union members out of work. Instead of being left in the wake of this "losing battle", Roy and his daughter Melissa (Director of "The Red Tail") follow the outsourced jobs to Hong Kong. While in Hong Kong, the Koch family not only meets Roy's replacement, but learns that workers there are also being threatened with the outsourcing of jobs to Xiamen, China. They follow Roy's job to Xiamen where they discover that the journey doesn't stop there. "The Red Tail" is a search for human connection and dignity amidst the ugliness of our current global economic system.

Director Bios

Dawn Mikkelson (Producer/Director/Writer): Mikkelson is both an award-winning media producer and documentary filmmaker. From National PBS broadcasts to being selected as a Featured Video Podcast by iTunes, Mikkelson's work in film and video has received international acclaim across broad delivery platforms.  Mikkelson has completed three award-winning feature documentaries prior to The Red Tail. Her second film, THIS obedience, won numerous festival awards and was distributed for national PBS broadcast by American Public Television.  Mikkelson's third documentary, Green Green Water ( is currently touring festivals and conferences around the world and has broadcast on PBS affiliates and Free Speech TV.  A former television news reporter at an ABC affiliate, and current adjunct faculty at Ottawa University teaching "Filmmaking for Social Change", Mikkelson has spoken at numerous festival panels on documentary filmmaking, GLBT and environmental issues, as well as speaking at colleges and universities across the country.

Melissa Koch (Producer/Director/Writer):
Koch is an emerging filmmaker introducing her feature-length documentary debut, "The Red Tail." She is a multi-disciplinary media-artist who has directed narrative short films and has worked in documentary video, photography, and radio. Koch studied cultural theory, media arts, and social change at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and the University of Tasmania, Australia. She has worked with community organizations for ten years primarily focusing on work with youth, LGBTQ communities, and the arts. In addition to working as a free-lance video producer, Koch currently serves as the Community Programs Director for In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre.