this is "nightline." >> tonight, the soldiers blasting donald trump for his purple heart comments today. this on the heels of the republican nominee's lashing out at the muslim american family that appeared at the democratic convention last week. why the military is once again in politics. and what trump is saying about the controversy now. plus, the lightning riders. skydiving like you've never seen different. the thrill-seeker diving into the center of the storm just for the perfect shot. but in the legendary lethal storms of central florida, are these high-flying stunts worth the risk? and for the love of the film. these "star wars" fans take their devotion to the next level
films. striving to be a small part of the big franchise they adore. but first the "nightline 5." >> hey, need fast heartburn relief? try cool mint zantac. it releases a cooling sensation in your mouth and throat. zantac works in as little as 30 minutes. nexium can take 24 hours. try cool mint zantac. no pill relieves heartburn faster. discover the wonder of johnson's extra moisturizing bath routine. in our wash and an ultra-rich cream for 24-hour hydration, especially on dry skin. johnson's for every little wonder. >> number one in just 60
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this after days of intense backlash for his ongoing criticism of the muslim american family who lost their son, an army captain, in iraq. questions tonight around what it means to serve and what it means to sacrifice. it's "your voice, your vote." >> something very nice just happened to me. a man came up to me, and he handed me his purple heart. commander in chief never saw combat, never served in the military. but now has a purple heart. thanks to an avid supporter. an honor awarded to those wounded in battle. >> that's like big stuff. i always wanted to get the purple heart. this was much easier. >> reporter: trump's lighthearted reaction lighting up social media with iraq war veterans like congresswoman tammy duckworth tweeting, donald trump, this is how one usually looks when you are awarded the
nothing easy about it. these comments as trump continues to double down on negative headlines over his treatment of the gold star family of captain khan, one of 14 american muslims who died serving the u.s. since 9/11. his parents' emotional challenge to trump captivating the audience at the democratic national convention last week. >> have you even read the united states constitution? i will gladly lend you my copy. you have sacrificed nothing. and no one. >> how would you answer that, what sacrifice have you made for your country? >> i think i've made a lot of sacrifices. i work very, very hard. >> reporter: the political backlash calling into question trump's own lack of military experience, getting four college
>> i had a minor melody ferment for feet, for a bone spur of the foot, which was minor. >> reporter: and sarah palin's own son-in-law, one of the few living medal of honor recipients from combat in afghanistan, shaming trump with this. "if real donald trump wants to be the commander in chief he needs to act like one, and that can't start until he apologizes to the khans." tonight on fox news, still no apology from the candidate. but a partial recognition of the an >> obviously -- i mean, there's no greater sacrifice than you lose a son or a daughter, and you know, in the way that this happened. and i understand that. but regardless, i was viciously attacked. >> we'll have more on this controversy tomorrow on "gma." now we turn to a team taking things to new heights literally. launching into stomach-churning, possibly deadly stunts. sky surfing into the belly of a
here's abc's rob marciano with our series "pushing the limits." >> reporter: there is skydiving, and then there is what this man does. jumping, surfing, flat-out flying through the clouds. >> i put the board on, and it really -- it feels more like my sport bike. >> reporter: while red bull athletes are known for pushing the limits, this mccormack's most dangerous mission yet. >> it's an adventure we're chasing. >> reporter: a flyer in the elite red bull air force at 41 years old, sean's now out to sky surf a thunderstorm. >> everybody likes to say, you can't ri can't. ride up until you do it. >> reporter: welcome to florida where the summer storms are legendary. with more people killed by lightning here than any other state.
teens were lucky to survive when lightning struck them on clearwater beach. >> i tried to figure out if i was hurting. my whole body was pretty much numb. >> reporter: central florida is one of the most lightning-prone zones in the world. for sean mccormack, that's exactly the point. >> so the big question is, why? >> in all my time training what we're doing here is the one experience that i've had that wasn't really able to get chronicled properly. >> reporter: but for extreme athletes like sean, carefully these are also about the bragging rights. getting that perfect video. not easy, especially when lightning is involved. >> are you aware of just how dangerous it is? lightning-wise? >> i am. i have experience doing it. so i've been in this environment before. and it worked out fine. >> 70% of all lightning doesn't even hit the ground. it's hitting the cloud. when you do this and there's flashes going off, what do you think's going to be going
that moment, because it's all pretty quick. i think you'd be amazed how calculated this mission is. >> reporter: at this hangar in florida, an entire team has been assembled for this mission. among them two other skydiving pros. red bull air force captain john devore, and aerial photographer craig o'brien. >> what happens if you bump into sean when he's doing thinks thing? >> going to hurt. quite a bit. >> sean and i both have like 20,000 jumps. half of them are to but we're definitely in unison. >> reporter: to make sure sean finds the right kind of cloud to surf they brought in a thunderstorm specialist. joe thompson, meteorologist. >> normally as a meteorologist you're telling people where not to go, how to stay away from the storm. this is the complete opposite. >> reporter: joe is glued to these images all day. high-resolution computer models and doppler radar track the storms. >> the one that was over us has pretty much dissipated.
sky. >> they want to skydive through the storms. insane, right? >> i'm a meteorologist, not a psychologist. >> reporter: joe notices a promising cloud building not too far from the hangar. >> that's the best one we've seen all day. >> reporter: the team takes off. but they didn't get the perfect shot, this time. so they pack up their gear -- >> we'll get you a good thunderstorm next run. >> reporter: and wait for the next one. >> you're in phenomenal shape. >> thank you. >> you're still doing this stuff but you're over 40 years old. does having three kids now, and a wife at home, make you think twice about doing some of this stuff? >> i have always had a very different approach. as a hollywood stunt person we've always tried to be about risk management and trying to coordinate something that can be done, repeated, safely. i think that's always been my motivation and my goal. >> do you think about family
time? >> no. >> jouust focussed? >> yes. >> reporter: sean says it was his first jump at 18 years old that got him hooked. >> i felt spiritual about it. it was beautiful to me and could not have felt more present. >> where i needed to be. >> reporter: sean diving to spread skydiving love. >> it's going to be a red bull air force jump, not fuzzy business. >> reporter: he challenged me to get up there with him. >> that's crazy. >> that's what ours is going to be like, >> no, no. >> reporter: i finally succumbed to the peer pressure. >> is that your chariot? >> this is it, brother. i can't believe you're doing this. >> my heart rate just went up a little bit. the last cinch. >> reporter: how often do you get to tandem jump with one of the best skydive others the planet? >> all right, let's do this,
? >> reporter: it's a category 3 hurricane wind in my face. >> sit up, sit up, stand up, stand up! whoo! >> i just jumped out of an airplane. >> yeah, you did. >> with sean mccormack. how sweet is that? >> reporter: not long after our feet are on solid ground, j cloud. so we climb back in the plane. >> here we go. >> reporter: this time i'm just spectating. >> 14,000 feet. >> unreal to watch these guys. unbelievable. we're almost there. 14,000 feet. ears are starting to pop. the air up here is 20 degrees colder. the storm has gotten higher. they want to get closer to it. 17,000 now. >> reporter: to get near the top
higher than a normal jump. >> dizzy yet? >> yeah, feels a little light-headed, need some oxygen. go, baby. money shot! >> reporter: and the thin air starts to take a toll. >> guys will probably be feeling a little hypoxic right now. if you're getting light-headed you might start to slur your speech pretty soon. >> reporter: my producer jackie starts to fade, barely able to hold on to the >> i got it. just strap in. i got it. >> getting light-headed back here. jackie just back behind the lens, how you been? >> i'm alive, i'm alive. >> the angle of descent here is pretty intense. good news is we got oxygen back in our systems. she didn't pass out. "nightline" shoot successful. yes! >> reporter: back on the ground, we learn that that storm cloud wasn't actually ideal for filming. but then --
sky. >> reporter: sean and the team get what they've been waiting for. a true thunderstorm. a massive cumulus cloud. the perfect backdrop. >> it's the opportunity to show a really amazing, beautiful place on this earth that anybody could daydream about. and no one can get to go see. >> reporter: now that is storm chasing. marciano in lewiston, florida. >> wow! up next, the "star wars" devotees show their love by making their own mini epics. now hoping to become part of the lucasfilms family as "star wars" fan film award winners. most ribs eaten while calf roping...
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so what does it take to be a true "star wars" fan? for the people you're about to meet it includes comebatting scorching heat and sandstorms. they celebrate the movie franchise they love byre making their own tribute films. here's abc's clayton sandell. ? >> reporter: here in the sand dunes of a remote alien planet, surrounded by storm troopers and bad guys -- we're on the set of a "star wars" movie. >> action! >> reporter: not the one you think. here there's no george luke cat or j.j. abrams. but you will find jeff henderson
in love with that galaxy far, far away they're making their own "star wars" movie. they'll enter their five-minute film in something called the "star wars" fan film award. at stake, bragging rights. >> if i was a kid and saw that, i would literally spontaneously combust. >> reporter: and just possibly fame and fortune. the guys have spent the last six weeks raising money and recruiting about 60 friends and family for a grueling three-day shoot in the scorching desert. >> if you've made a checklist of all the things that could figuratively go wrong, we've checked all of them off but tsunami, zombies, godzilla, plague of location kulss. >> reporter: and they're all doing it for free. >> did you see the shot we just did? we were surrounded by storm troopers and boba fett. >> reporter: the movie is called "the sable corsair" about a spaceship that crash lands and
>> another day, another worst-case scenario. >> reporter: the strange world of fan-made movies is bigger than ever and bigger than "star wars." you'll find hundreds online from homemade "harry potter" adventures to "game of thrones" knockoffs. for the most part, big studios tolerate fan films using their copyrighted characters, as long as fans don't profit. but lucasfilm, the makers of "star wars," actually encourage them. >> i think wt fan community. >> reporter: the sable corsair is one of 500 entries this year alone. the clock is ticking. they're scrambling to finish editing but the contest deadline is just days away. >> six months of work in ten days. >> reporter: there's a lot at stake. $10,000 they raised online, b $3,000 of their own.
down work to finish the film in time. why do it? >> childhood nostalgia that you fall in love with. once you watch the first, i don't care who you are, you watch the first one, you're hook. >> reporter: brothers edwards hope their five-minute masterpiece, featuring special effects that rival hollywood, is good enough to get hollywood's attention. >> we hope now people say, wow, these guys can do like high-concept ideas. they can do special effects. >> reporter: that may be a dream, but it's a dream that came through for >> this is big-time. >> reporter: back in 1999, nusbaum made a fan film called "george lucas in love." >> you're george lucas, right? >> reporter: hoping to jump start his own directing career. it worked. >> i had a meeting at dreamworks where the head of dreamworks walked in and handed me a letter from george lucas. the first line of which was, "steven spielberg sent me a copy of your short film." >> reporter: today you'll find
amazon series "just add magic." >> you're telling me the short "star wars" themed fan film led you to where you are today? >> 100%. in fact, i still get jobs off of it now. >> reporter: back at lucasfilm it's time to pick the fan film finali finalists. one of the judges is gareth edwards, now directing what he calls his own fan film, the next real "star wars" movie "rogue one." edwards can tell making "the sable >> having stood in the mission of the desert trying to shoot, they suffered for that. it's going to the effort of finding that location and sticking it out in difficult conditions. >> reporter: so far it's paid off. "the sable corsair" is chosen as a finalist. >> crash landed on a hostile uncharted planet -- >> reporter: next, london, basically the academy awards of star wars fan films. the winners are about to be announced at the annual
action nick, girlfriend alex, brother chris, made it just in time. >> this has been a long road. >> oh my god. >> the longest journey ever. >> it's been an epic journey. >> some blood, some sweat, some tears. >> oh yeah, tears. >> a few macsed-out credit cards. >> reporter: at this moment -- >> the golden storm trooper goes to -- "the sable corsair," the team's won the audience choice award, voted best fan film by the fans. >> "star wars" is creative and professional centerpiece of our lives. >> how's this feel? >> i'm so proud of these two. and everything that they did. and everybody here. >> reporter: the edwards brothers are winners too, picking up the filmmakers select award. for jeff and nick, taking home a golden storm trooper has made the long journey well worth it. >> we've touched these people who it means so much to.
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? if you're looking for something to do tomorrow night on abc, catch country music's hottest including carrie underwood, luke ryan, rascal flatts and many, many more. on the cma music festival, country's night to rock, here on abc at 8:00 p.m. thanks for watching abc join us for "good morning america" tomorrow. as always we're online at abcnews.com and our "nightline" it is the halloween spectacular with cooking tricks and treats with chef jamie oliver. plus >> where are we going? >> surprises that will leave you senseless. then transformation from syfy "face off" that will blow your