When We Were Apollo is a feature-length documentary film project exploring the story of the Apollo Space Program through the lives and experiences of some of its most inspiring yet unrecognized workers: engineers, technicians, builders and contractors from a workforce of over 400,000 men and women who dedicated the better part of a decade to get us to the moon and back.
The film will be released in time for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing next year!
Previous films have focused on the stories of astronauts and figureheads, but few to-date have centered around the contributions and recollections of Apollo's "everyday" worker. Since January, we’ve interviewed nearly 20 Project Apollo alumni from California to Florida, documenting the stories of individuals like NASA engineers Al Koller and Delano Hyter, to IBM contractor Martha Lemasters and North American Aviation test pilot Wallace Johnson. Well into our edit, we expect to complete the film by early 2019.
***WHEN WE WERE APOLLO is a fiscally sponsored project of the International Documentary Association (IDA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions in support of WHEN WE WERE APOLLO are payable to IDA and are tax deductible, less the value of any goods or services received, as allowed by law. The value of goods and services being offered is noted under each donation level. If you would like to deduct the entire donation, you have the option to simply decline your reward at checkout.***
Half a century later, the Apollo Space Program remains the single greatest initiative in peacetime the world has ever known. Its story speaks to the most beautiful characteristics of our humanity: a metaphor for our ability to rise to challenges once thought insurmountable and push past them with even bigger and bolder solutions. Behind every astronaut who set foot on the moon and every figurehead who inspired us to get there was Apollo's massive workforce: a team of men and women over 400,000 strong––spanning race, socio-economics, culture, company and country––who came to understand that the overall Program was only as good as the effort they put into it.
This dedication and the “can-do” attitude behind it––the Spirit of Apollo––carry invaluable lessons about our potential as a species as we chart a course into the 21st century. Like Apollo, our world is too big, diverse and complex for any one person, group or nation to tackle. Only by working together––by taking a truly cooperative approach and empowering one another to become the best versions of ourselves––will we truly be able to overcome the seemingly insurmountable challenges of our day. Such a future is within our grasp. The story of Apollo can help us get there...if we listen.
With over 400,000 individuals comprising Apollo's workforce, a feature-length documentary can only share so much. That's why we've added a special stretch goal to secure funding for a new endeavor we're calling: Voices of Apollo: The Online Collective. Completely free and open to the public, the collective will function as an online portal where Apollo alumni, their friends and family can post and share stories, photos and even video from their time on the Program. Like the film, this archive will allow the story of Apollo to live on and inspire new generations for decades to come.
Reaching our $40,000 stretch goal will also allow us to improve on our Special Collector’s Edition Photo Book (See $249 tier gift), expanding it to include dozens of additional stories, photographs and other content from the Apollo alumni who contribute to the Collective.
Raised in Florida during the Space Shuttle era, Zack feels a deep connection to spaceflight and its history. As founder and operator of Contact Light Films in Los Angeles, his mission is to share stories that inspire and motivate younger generations toward 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, as well as Telly Award winning campaigns for nationally recognized non-profits like the 20MM Foundation and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
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 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 and sees filmmaking as a transmitter of perspective across cultural boundaries. He is the producer of the web series, Fate We Make, which follows an Iraqi refugee family, with whom John lived as a relief worker in Iraq, as they being life again in the U.S.
Kyle McConaghy--Director of Photography/Co-Producer
Kyle is currently a Director of Photography and Colorist for film & television in Los Angeles. He shoots and produces for AT&T’s Audience Network, working on the Audience Music Show and Undeniable with Joe Buck, as well as producing content for the episodic television shows Mr. Mercedes (Brendan Gleeson, Mary Louise Parker) and Condor (Max Irons, William Hurt) and DPing/directing multiple shorts and features.
Sean McCleary--Associate Producer
Sean is the production assistant at Contact Light Films and works closely with When We Were Apollo as Associate Producer. He has worked on numerous documentary and feature projects, including Netflix's Chasing Coral (official selection Sundance), produced by Exposure Labs. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado-Boulder Department of Cinema Studies with a minor in English Literature, and is passionate about impactful and socially-conscious films.
Samantha Simpson--Graduate Professional
Samantha Simpson is a professional world traveler who specializes in film and photography. She is fueled by her passion of understanding individuals. She is a graduate of the Grand Valley State University Department of Film and Video. A few accomplishments have been a video for the Human Resources department at Meijer, filmed videos for the United States Government, the official videographer for Sandpiper 565, and a proud U.S. ambassador for New Zealand.
David G. Stone--Producer
Dave's 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. 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.
Jason's work has been viewed internationally and has produced award winning content for brands, as well as clients. He has 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
"When We Were Apollo" is our way of paying tribute to the 400,000 men and women of the Apollo Space Program. If the campaign is not fully funded, we run the risk of not being able to complete this project in time for the historic 50th anniversary celebrations commencing next year––a setback that will limit the film's long-term reach and impact.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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