Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 3, 2013.

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Discover the remarkable story of Dr. Ed Belbruno, the NASA scientist who used paint and imagination to reach the moon.

Why We’re Doing Kickstarter

We love connecting to you, our audience. We're talking with you on our Facebook page, listening to what inspires and fascinates you. We want to hear your ideas about how you would like to use the film—whether it's as a supplement to a science class, an art class, or as part of a conference of ideas. Kickstarter is the ultimate way for us to join hands and say, yes, this is ours. We're asking for you to get involved, support this film, and share our Kickstarter with your friends. Succeed or fail, we thank you.

Still from the film of Ed Belbruno by Jacob Akira Okada
Still from the film of Ed Belbruno by Jacob Akira Okada

The Story

Painting the Way to the Moon is a feature documentary about Dr. Ed Belbruno, a Princeton mathematician and painter who pioneered space travel while working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in the 1980’s.

What makes Ed’s story so unique is that his “eureka” moment happened while he was painting. Miraculously, all of Ed’s scientific breakthroughs have been intertwined with his art.

In 1986 Ed's day job at JPL was making trajectories for the Galileo mission to Jupiter. He thought the traditional way of sending satellites into orbit around planets and moons was costly and dangerous. Using his knowledge of chaos theory, Ed pursued his dream to find a new way of space travel.

But his theory was rejected by his peers at NASA for being far fetched and impractical. Ed's insistence ultimately cost him his job at NASA.

Then, out of the blue, Ed got the chance to prove he was right. The Japanese government asked him to use his theory to rescue a malfunctioning satellite and send it into lunar orbit.

This dramatic rescue, and the mystery around its circumstances, are only part of the film's full story. Today, NASA and JPL are using Ed's theory as a cost-effective and reliable way to go into orbit around the moon. A recent example is JPL's successful GRAIL mission to study the moon's gravity.

Painting the Way to the Moon shows how art and science share a common creative process and proves that imagination knows no boundaries.

Your Awesome Rewards - NEW!

We're excited to announce that Ed is printing a LIMITED EDITION run of 5 of his pieces, available in different sizes (see below). Each artist proof is printed on Giclée archival photo paper and will be signed by Ed Belbruno. To see the 5 pieces to choose from, scroll down just after the list of rewards.

Whatever level of support you choose, we want to thank you for getting involved.

  • Thank you! We'll send you an email and updates on the film. $1 
  • HD Digital download of the film. Plus a thank you. $10
  • DVD of the film. Plus a thank you. $25
  • Thank you in the credits, DVD. $50
  • Jon Irabagon's ALBUM of music from the film, DVD, thanks. $75
  • Special Thanks in credits, DVD, a 4x6 signed still from the film. $100
  • 8x10 LIMITED EDITION artist proof print on Giclée archival paper, signed by Ed Belbruno.Choose 1 of 5 (see below). Special Thanks, DVD. $350
  • Limited Edition Movie Poster signed by the producers, DVD, Special Thanks in the credits. $500
  • 11x14 LIMITED EDITION artist proof print on Giclée archival paper, signed by Ed Belbruno. Choose 1 of 5 (see below). Special Thanks, DVD. $550
  • 16x20 LIMITED EDITION artist proof print on Giclée archival paper, signed by Ed Belbruno. Choose 1 of 5 (see below). Special Thanks, DVD. $1000
  • 20x24 LIMITED EDITION artist proof print on Giclée archival paper, signed by Ed Belbruno. Choose 1 of 5 (see below). Special Thanks, DVD of film. $2500
  • Associate Producer Credit in the film. TWO LIMITED EDITION archival prints of Ed's art, signed. Choose 2 of 5. DVD.$5,000
  • Co-Producer Credit in the film. ALL FIVE pieces of Ed's LIMITED EDITION signed archival prints(20x24). DVD of film. $10,000
Choice 1: Orbit to the Moon, by Ed Belbruno
Choice 1: Orbit to the Moon, by Ed Belbruno
Choice 2: Bifurcating Patterns, by Ed Belbruno
Choice 2: Bifurcating Patterns, by Ed Belbruno
Choice 3: Cosmic Orbit, by Ed Belbruno
Choice 3: Cosmic Orbit, by Ed Belbruno
Choice 4: Universal Dance, by Ed Belbruno
Choice 4: Universal Dance, by Ed Belbruno
Choice 5: Dimensional Shift, by Ed Belbruno
Choice 5: Dimensional Shift, by Ed Belbruno

Our Audience is Growing Fast

We're thrilled that in the first few weeks after we launched our Facebook page, over 2,400 people from around the world already joined the diverse audience interested in this story. You can also watch a short scene from the film on our Facebook page.

The Budget

Our total budget is $320k. We're in the process of applying for grants. In order to keep moving ahead, we need $40k to continue the film on schedule. The more money we raise now, the sooner the film will be completed and it'll be thanks to you! Here's how the money will be utilized:

What Happens Next?

We're currently interviewing luminaries in astrophysics and the arts, who will offer their insight into Ed's story and the creative process.

This includes interviews with Ed, his colleagues, and a location shoot in Wyoming to capture shots of the Milky Way. Why Wyoming? All we can say is that we don't want to spoil the story before you see the film!

We will also continue to edit and incorporate new footage into the film. Our composer, Jon Irabagon, will work on the score.

The Filmmakers

Jacob Akira Okada (Producer, Director, Camera) Jacob co-produced and shot the Emmy nominated documentary OFF AND RUNNING (dir. Nicole Opper), which premiered at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival and was broadcast nationally on PBS.

Jacob shot key scenes in LOVE FREE OR DIE (dir. Macky Alston), which won a Special Jury Prize for An Agent of Change at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast nationally on PBS, and FIRST COMES LOVE (dir. Nina Davenport), which premiered at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival and will broadcast on HBO.

Jacob's first film CURTIS received Honorable Mention at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and aired on PBS. His first job out of school was as assistant editor for American Experience's two part series on Martin Luther King, Jr., CITIZEN KING (dir. Orlando Bagwell & W. Noland Walker).

Jacob has produced for NatGeoWild in the Everglades and for the Oprah Winfrey Network in a women's correctional facility.

Adam Morrow (Producer, Editor) Adam has over a decade of experience as a film editor and artist specializing in visual effects. His effects work includes making prosthetic masks for the artist Phillip Toledano; leading the special effects team on the Lionsgate feature film MULBERRY STREET; and bloodying kung-fu fighters for a music video featuring The RZA. Adam's clients include the Onion Network, the Cartoon Network, MTV, and more. You can see his work at eyespotpictures.com.

Jon Irabagon (Composer) Jon is the winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition and has performed extensively as both a sideman and as a leader in an ever-expanding range of projects, from the most straight ahead to the most searching. His latest album Outright! Unhinged has received positive reviews and praise from critics and fans.

Ed Belbruno's "Mountains at Night" 22 x 24 inches, oil on canvas, 1984.
Ed Belbruno's "Mountains at Night" 22 x 24 inches, oil on canvas, 1984.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We began production in late October and put together a scene for the film in a month. Most documentaries spend a year making a quality trailer, but we were able to work quickly because the story is based on interviews. Ed is a great collaborator and has given us complete access to his life as well as to his colleagues, which has kept things running smoothly.

We have a great track record of finishing early and under budget. Our experienced team has never missed a deadline. We're confident that we'll deliver the film on schedule.

If you have questions about the project, send me an email with the "Ask a Question" button. I'll get back to you promptly.

Thanks!

-Jacob

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    The director will send you a personal THANK YOU and we'll update you on the film's progress.

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    HD DIGITAL DOWNLOAD of the film and personal thank you.

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    DVD of the film and a thank you.

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    THANKS in the CREDITS, DVD.

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    NEW ALBUM of MUSIC from the film by composer Jon Irabagon, THANKS in the CREDITS, DVD.

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    SPECIAL THANKS in the credits, 4x6 SIGNED still photograph from the film, DVD.

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    8x10 artist proof signed by Ed Belbruno on Giclée archival photo paper. On the bottom will be printed: This is a certified artist proof in support of the movie Painting the Way to the Moon. Choose 1 of 5 paintings offered(see below). SPECIAL THANKS in credits, DVD.

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    LIMITED EDITION MOVIE POSTER (18x24) SIGNED by the producers, SPECIAL THANKS in credits, DVD.

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    11x 14 artist proof signed by Ed Belbruno on Giclée archival photo paper. On the bottom will be printed: This is a certified artist proof in support of the movie Painting the Way to the Moon. Choose 1 of 5 paintings offered(see below). SPECIAL THANKS in credits, DVD.

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    16x 20 artist proof signed by Ed Belbruno on Giclée archival photo paper. On the bottom will be printed: This is a certified artist proof in support of the movie Painting the Way to the Moon. Choose 1 of 5 paintings offered(see below). SPECIAL THANKS in credits, DVD.

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    20x24 artist proof signed by Ed Belbruno on Giclée archival photo paper. On the bottom will be printed: This is a certified artist proof in support of the movie Painting the Way to the Moon. Choose 1 of 5 paintings offered(see below). SPECIAL THANKS in credits, DVD of film.

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    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT in the film. TWO Giclée archival prints (20x24) of Ed's art, signed. Choose 2 of 5 paintings offered (see below). DVD of film.

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    CO-PRODUCER CREDIT in the film. ALL FIVE Giclée archival prints of Ed's art, signed (20x24). DVD of film.

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Funding period

- (30 days)