After premiering at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Jamie Kastner’s The Skyjacker’s Tale is set to open at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema this weekend. In the film Kastner interviews Ishmael Labeet for the first time since he hijacked a plane in 1984 to escape incarceration.
Ishmael Muslim Ali (formerly LaBeet) is the American convicted of murdering eight people on a Rockefeller-owned golf course in the US Virgin Islands. After years of trying to get his conviction overturned, he took matters into his own hands and hijacked an American Airlines plane full of passengers to Cuba on New Years Eve 1984, and got away with it. Until now. Thirty years on the FBI’s most wanted list and against the backdrop of his looming extradition to serve eight consecutive life sentences in the US, the film recounts the hijacking that got him here, re-examines his original trial and reveals a gross miscarriage of justice.
Kastner talked about the film and LaBeet’s case while promoting the documentary at TIFF.