NASA

astronaut

This week’s Fund This Film is not about a film that needs funding. But it is still about a crowd-funding campaign that is somewhat movie-related. The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) of America has gone to Indiegogo for an effort to spark interest in the U.S. space program, and they’re seeking money to put a promotional trailer into theaters to play ahead of Star Trek Into Darkness. The 30-second video, narrated by Peter “Optimus Prime” Cullen, is a commercial-size edit of a longer NASA promo called “We Are the Explorers,” and it aims to remind us all that the end of the Space Shuttle program did not mean the end of American space exploration. This is especially important now that everyone’s watching Room 237 and becoming convinced that Stanley Kubrick faked the moon landing for the agency. It’s apparently against the law for NASA to buy advertising space to promote themselves (come on, if the Army can, why not them?), so that’s why the AIA is reaching out to citizens without the agency’s endorsement or involvement. In only six days, the campaign already reached its goal of $33,000, which was to pay for pre-show spots in 58 movie theaters in major cities. Now the hope is to reach $94,000 for an expansion to 750 screens around the country (at least one in every state). Anything above that amount will go back into programs for space science education. Basically this is a way to show your support by helping to grow more support. Anyone can […]

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? See what happens when a filmmaker edits down 10 hours of NASA footage into 8 minutes colored by a touching voice over from a sentient robot named Robbie who is dying. Tears are natural. Neil Harvey has made something unique and haunting that captures the heart. Hat tip to Ben L. and Short of the Week for sending it in. What will it cost? Only 8 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Space exploration was exhilarating 50 years ago, but even the most mind-exploding stuff about it has become somehow too commonplace. However, videos like this one, where NASA footage falls into the hands of an artist, might just do the trick in convincing a new generation to dream beyond the atmosphere. Forgive the pun, but this is stellar work from Sander van den Berg. What will it cost? Only 2 amazing minutes. Skip Work. You’ve got Time For More Short Films Hat tip to “Little” Jimmy K. for this one.

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Culture Warrior

From the second half of the twentieth century onward, our view of NASA and its associated lore in movies have been inseparable. The astronaut, a uniquely American frontier hero whose myth and iconography made them the cowboy of the second half of the 20th century, has a position in our cultural memory that is inseparable from cinematic imagination. From pre-moon landing science fiction that dreamed of potential encounters with distant worlds through an organized space program (Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey) to reenactments of history celebrating the space program and the individuals involved (The Right Stuff, Apollo 13) to NASA/moon landing documentaries (For All Mankind, In the Shadow of the Moon) to later, more divergent science-fiction films that have emerged since the prominence of NASA has lessened (Armageddon and so on), NASA, space exploration, the moon landing, and its imagined associations have retained a prominent place in cinematic mythmaking prompted by continued fascination with the frontier of space and humanity’s place in it. Hell, we’ve wondered about the moon since the beginning of cinema. That our collective experience of space in both fiction (i.e., narrative cinema) and non-fiction has been via the moving image (i.e., watching the moon landing on TV) is perhaps what most thoroughly cements this porous association between NASA and its cinematic myth.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s hard to say, really. All we know for sure is that NASA is trying to cover it up. Chances are that you’ve seen tonight’s lead photo before — it’s one of many spy shots from the set of Man of Steel featuring Henry Cavill’s new look as Superman. But lets talk about this for a moment. What do we think about this? Is it the fanboy kryptonite as Hero Complex might suggest? I’m not convinced that anything is good or bad for the Superman franchise anymore. Perhaps staying dormant would have been a good idea. But then again, I’m the guy who liked Superman Returns. If Zack Snyder is going for different, he’s certainly found it.

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Why Watch? Because the things of this universe will steal the breath right out of your lungs. This experimental piece instantly became a favorite because it combines still and moving imagery from the NASA Cassini Mission with the music of Nine Inch Nails, and it’s edited together with keen understanding. The music and the vast nothingness make for a heavy, somber feeling, but the grandiose nature of what’s filling the void is something triumphant and brimming with cosmic importance. It, at once, reminds us that we’re small and of what something small can do. We can travel out into the blackness of the universe and bring back its beauty. What does it cost? Just 2 minute of your time. Check out Cassini Mission for yourself:

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Movies We Love

“It’s the size of Texas, Mr. President.” Does it get any better than that? Of course it doesn’t. Armageddon is without doubt one of the finest motion pictures ever created by humans. If that snippet of dialogue made audible by Mr. Billy Bob Thornton himself didn’t convince you, maybe this will. “You think we’ll get hazard pay for this?” I’m going to pretend you’ve been living under a rock since 1998 and summarize one of the greatest summer blockbuster films ever made for you. So Billy Bob Thorton is sort of the head honcho of NASA and one day he’s supervising a standard in-space satellite repair when all of a sudden a meteor shower rips his crew to pieces. We then cut to New York City, which seems to always be the city that gets destroyed in big budget disaster movies, and sure enough the meteors tear through the city demolishing Grand Central Station, decapitating the Chrysler Building [insert Unstoppable joke here] and finally, in a moment fraught with unintended significance, the camera slowly zooms out to show the twin towers of the World Trade Center on fire. Then we’re treated to quickly cut scenes of people yelling and running through hallways and trying to figure out why Keith David keeps calling. Essentially, a giant asteroid is on a collision course with Earth and no matter where it hits, it will wipe out all life as we know it. Jason Isaacs convinces the President that the best plan is to […]

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In a recent press release, NASA has announced that it plans to land astronauts on an asteroid by 2025. This new development in space exploration must have been inspired, at least in part, by the hit 1998 Michael Bay film Armageddon, wherein a group of ultra-skilled oil drillers are sent to an asteroid headed for Earth with the mission of embedding an atomic weapon deep beneath its surface in order to blow it off of its course. What else could explain the fact that astronauts who’ve never quit are lining up right and left to be chosen for the expedition? Dr. Paul Abell, NASA’s lead scientist for planetary small bodies, addressed the issue, saying, “The Armageddon film with Bruce Willis was a very fun movie, but not exactly the most scientifically accurate. This is going to be an exciting endeavor, but not quite that dramatic. It’s going to happen a little bit more slowly.” This probably went without saying, as few things in human history have been as dramatic and harrowing as Bay’s masterpiece. Not to mention that, in a real world situation, I imagine it would be hard to find a rough neck crew of oil drillers quite as skilled as the ones that worked for Willis’s Harry Stamper. His claim that Armageddon wasn’t the most scientifically accurate film could be called into question, but probably he just meant it in the literal sense that The Rock’s portrayal of chemical weaponry is widely known as being the most painstakingly researched […]

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As we all know, the world is going to end in 2036 after mankind’s preventative measures against global warming attract a meteor the size of Nigeria and pull it right down on top of New Italy. Yet, even though we’re armed with this powerful knowledge, we still lose our minds a little bit when we see signs of natural disaster right out of our religious texts. So why are we so concerned with the end of all things? NASA thinks movies are the culprit, an assertion that’s entirely correct.

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Space nerds, mount up. Previously I’ve blogged incessant rants of love in the direction of space, and the documentaries that have chronicled our journeys there. This is no exception.

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WesAndersonSpace

So Wes Anderson wants to film in space eh? We didn’t think he was serious either, but we ran some numbers just in case.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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