Film documents Ford’s crisis response

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Project Apollo, Ford Motor Co.’s scramble to pivot from making cars and trucks to manufacturing lifesaving medical equipment during the coronavirus crisis, is the subject of a short documentary from the director of “Friday Night Lights.”

In On the Line, a nine-minute film released this month on YouTube, several Ford workers who volunteered to make face masks, ventilators and other needed items after the automaker’s plants shut down in the spring are interviewed. The film was directed by Peter Berg, who pitched the idea to Ford after hearing about the company’s efforts, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Ford sponsored the project and gave Berg access to its facilities, where he filmed forklift supervisor Curtis Frizell building oxygen toggle switches for ventilators and transmission plant worker Joanne Ritchie spending her 30th year at Ford making masks because her daughter is an intensive-care nurse. “What a way to end my career,” Ritchie says. “I can say I actually did something to help mankind.”

The film shows how Ford substituted door weatherstripping for elastic that was in short supply. Erin Brennan, an emergency room doctor at the Detroit Medical Center, calls it a “brilliant solution.”

Adrian Price, Ford’s director of global core engineering, says in the film that Ford has produced 16 million face shields, 10 million face masks and 50,000 ventilators. Ford this month said it will increase mask production in October and aims to donate 100 million masks through next year.

“Nobody said, ‘No,’ ” Price says in the film. “Nobody said, ‘Why?’ Everybody just said, ‘Let’s go.’ ”

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