Thanks to your support, we have secured the funds necessary for capturing interviews this coming January! Hitting our first stretch goal of $30,000 will allow us to improve the quality of the production, extending our time in the field by an additional week!
- $45,000: Covers a production visit to Australia to interview Apollo alumni from the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station.
- $75,000: Allows us to work on the film full-time through the end of production.
- $150,000: Covers all costs for production and post production.
- $200,000: Secures the entire budget, allowing us to work on the film full-time and uninterrupted through completion of the project.
We know the stories of the astronauts who went to the moon and the figureheads who inspired us to go. But what about the rest of Project Apollo's workforce––the 400,000 men and women who spent the better part of a decade to get us to our planetary neighbor and back? When We Were Apollo shares their story.
July 20, 1969, 10:30 EDT: With one small step, humanity slips the heavenly bonds of earth and first sets foot upon the moon. But, for the everyday men and women of the Apollo Space Program, the first moon landing represents the culmination of a decade-long effort of such awesome scope and scale––of such tireless work and relentless sacrifice––it would forever impact their lives and the communities they called home.
On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, we explore the legacy of the moonshot years through the lives and experiences of several extraordinary (and until now unheard from) everyday heroes: individuals like NASA engineers Al Koller and Larry Junker, and IBM contractor Martha LeMasters. Through them, we uncover the human component of Apollo: an intimate and approachable window into the lunar program that reveals what it was like to work on the moonshot, while appreciating its profound and lasting impact as the largest operation in peacetime the world has ever known.
Meet Larry Junker, Apollo structural engineer. He and several other behind-the-scenes men and women from Apollo will help form the backbone of our story.
Producing a feature-length documentary is part of our larger effort to ensure that as many histories from Project Apollo are captured and preserved while there is still time. To encourage Apollo alumni, their family and friends to record their experiences, we have created a special portal on the When We Were Apollo website for uploading stories and photographs. This is a remarkable way of preserving Apollo history we can all participate in. Because the journeys to the moon and the amazing efforts that made them possible are our history, we are making this service and collection completely free to the public. So pull out your old photographs, interview a relative and help preserve this invaluable piece of our collective past. For more information on how to view and/or contribute to this effort, please click here.
WHY APOLLO MATTERS
Great strides in science, medicine, engineering and technology are often the strongest engines for human advancement–––not just in their outcomes but in the way they galvanize our collective spirit. The story of how we got to the moon is the perfect example: an undertaking so ambitious, it required the combined forces of government, academia and private industry to succeed.
Our film is a recognition that working to accomplish ambitious goals like going to the moon brings out the best qualities we as humans share. By focusing on never-before-heard stories from Project Apollo's everyday workers, we can see firsthand that we succeed in doing big things when we make the choice to come together––our efforts in turn becoming bigger than the sum of their parts, setting us on a course to turn the impossibilities of today into the realities of tomorrow.
Recognizing there is no way we could include every interview and piece of material we capture into a two-hour film, we will be donating our footage and research materials upon completion of the project to institutions like the University of Alabama at Huntsville and the Viking Preservation Project to ensure they will be preserved and made accessible for present and future generations. For more information on this partnership, please click here.
We aim to complete When We Were Apollo in time for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing in 2019. In addition to appearing on the festival circuit, When We Were Apollo has attracted the attention of the PBS member stations above which have agreed to broadcast the film provided it is delivered in accordance with their specifications. We encourage you to share the film with your local PBS member station to increase the chances it makes an appearance on your outlet!
All research, development and early production efforts for When We Were Apollo have been entirely self-funded. This past May, we spent a week at the Kennedy Space Center researching, filming and interviewing potential subjects for our story. In early December, we travel to Huntsville to conduct archival research at the University of Alabama as well as to conduct outreach and preliminary interviews at NASA's Marshall Flight Center and the surrounding community.
The funds we seek through Kickstarter will help fund a two week road trip for capturing our principal interviews in January of 2018. Every dollar you contribute will go directly into the project. We will begin editing these interviews in February, producing a first assembly of the film and a 2-3 minute trailer to aid with additional fundraising efforts in 2018. The following is a breakdown of how our Kickstarter funds will be used:
- $15,386: Production costs (including airfare, hotels, camera equipment and a small per diem for a crew of four)
- $3,079: Kickstarter Backer Gifts
- $1,477: Kickstarter and credit card processing fees
WHO WE ARE
Zachary Weil: Writer / Director
Growing up in Florida during the Space Shuttle era, Zack feels a deep and strong connection to spaceflight and its history. The owner and operator of Contact Light Films in Los Angeles, Zack’s mission is to share stories that inspire and motivate younger generations towards positions of public service and leadership. His resume includes hundreds of short-form programs highlighting the philanthropic efforts of Fortune 500 companies like Toyota and Target, to Telly Award winning campaigns for nationally recognized non-profits like the 20MM Foundation and Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
Giovanna Aguilar: Producer
A multimedia professional, Giovanna is the executive producer of Vivir del Cuento, a transmedia project highlighting the oral storytelling traditions of Ecuadorian communities displaced by the 2016 earthquake. She is also the producer of the award-winning feature-length documentary, Dreamtown, following Anibal Chala, an Afro-Ecuadorian player who, for six years, strives against all odds to make it to the professional league. A multi-grant awarded film—HBO/NALIP Documentary Filmmaker Award, NALAC, NYWIFT—Dreamtown can be seen in short form on PBS’s Frontline World Rough Cut.
John Filson: Producer
John came to filmmaking through his background in international conflict resolution. He lived for years in the Middle East and Latin America, supporting local communities struggling to prevent war and exploitation. He also led peace-building advocacy programs in Washington, D.C. for many years. John sees filmmaking as a transmitter of perspective across cultural boundaries. His web series currently in production, Fate We Make, follows an amazing Iraqi refugee family in the U.S. who John lived with as a relief worker in Iraq.
OUR PARTNERS AT THE HUMAN EXPANSION CO.
Dave is on a mission to photograph every unchartered corner of the world in his spare time. He doubles as a creative director and film director in real life. Prior to founding The Human Expansion Co., Dave traversed the advertising and public relations landscape from Chicago to DC to LA, ultimately leading film creative and production for Ogilvy & Mather in the US West as a creative director and Head of Film. His work has been recognized by the Emmy Awards, Addy Awards, Webby Awards, Telly Awards, W3 Awards, North American Excellence Awards, the Brand Film Festival and more.
Jason hails from Southern California, where he has lensed award-winning feature films and television shows for more than 14 years as a cinematographer. His work has been featured internationally. Prior to founding The Human Expansion Co., Jason ran a content production company, producing award-winning work for brands and other clients. With an aesthetic that embraces authenticity and rejects artifice, Jason’s quest is to explore and expand the human experience with a contemplative, honest storytelling voice which resonates with viewers.
Risks and challenges
Making a documentary film comes with its share of risks and challenges. Fundraising is challenging! Even with a successful Kickstarter campaign behind us, we will need to raise additional funds to see the project through to completion. The relatively condensed timeline and the advanced age of many of our subjects makes this a particularly ambitious undertaking.
But, if Apollo teaches us anything, it's that no project worth doing doesn't involve some risk-taking. The approaching 50th anniversary of the first moon landing presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to share this invaluable story with you and countless others. With a talented and experienced filmmaking team, a wonderful story to tell, and your continued support and enthusiasm to carry us forward, the real risk would be failing to make the effort.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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