About this project
Our film will feature incredible, vintage sci-fi effects, depicting a trip from the Earth to the Moon on the lunar space elevator. We want to shoot these scenes with miniatures instead of CGI. We need your help to do it.
For the past 14 years, Michael Laine has been trying to do something most people think is impossible: build an elevator to space.
Michael’s suffered to make this dream a reality. He’s lost his livelihood, loved ones and friends on his quest to make space easily accessible for humanity. Still, there's hope. He resurrected his company, LiftPort, and raised $110,000 on Kickstarter to fund his ambitious experiment yet: making a robot climb the tallest free-standing human structure in existence.
Family, friends and supporters have questioned his efforts, and he’s under incredible pressure to pull it off. Is Michael a visionary or just another dreamer? Fair or not, much of the answer to this question rides on his ability to finish this experiment. His company, credibility and ability to continue his space elevator journey are on the line. It's make or break, and we’re capturing it all on film. The lead up. The experiment. Everything.
This film is about humanity: both pushing it forward and the struggle of those who dare to do so. It’s about following dreams with dogged determination amidst countless setbacks. Of course, it’s also about the next great leap for humanity. Michael thinks a space elevator can give us permanent access to the Moon for less than a billion dollars.
The Experiment and Why It’s Important
LiftPort has created a prototype elevator: a self-powered robot that can climb a high-strength tether. By climbing 30,000-feet, the robot will test its effectiveness and ability to endure conditions similar to those a full-blown elevator would face. It’s the most rigorous test LiftPort can do on Earth. What would be next? Satellite experiments.
After that, LiftPort thinks it’ll have the technology and know-how to build an elevator from the Moon to space. More than a dozen countries already operate space programs sophisticated enough to blast off from Earth and dock with such an elevator, and that brings the Moon closer than ever before. Reaching the lunar surface would be as easy as riding down a tether -- no hard landings. What’s more, humanity can use the Moon to organize and launch expeditions deeper into space.
Then, the holy grail: an elevator from Earth to space. While it isn’t possible with today’s technology, Michael thinks LiftPort will have the experience and skill to build it after they construct the lunar system. When scientists can create a tether strong enough for an Earth-based system, LiftPort will be ready to build it -- or so they hope.
Why Are Space Elevators Cool?
- Can cut costs of launching cargo from $10,000 per pound to roughly $100 per pound.
- Green energy via space-based solar panels.
- Space elevators on Mars, Earth and other planets and moons!
- Build and launch rockets in orbit for deep space exploration.
Why are we making this film?
The age of doing big things has waned. The railroads, highways, and electric grids were all built decades ago. It appears the epoch of discovery has passed. No human has ventured to the greatest unknown - outer space - in decades.
This is a film about the part of all of us that seeks to push humanity forward despite seemingly insurmountable odds. Not all dreams are meant to die when we wake.
We've been working on this project for nearly a year, and have put $20,000 of our own money and countless hours into this project. 75 percent of the principal photography is finished, but...
We want to make the film as polished as a big-budget release, with top-notch, miniature-based special effects, stunning visuals and a sweeping soundtrack. To do that, we need to raise money.
Our goal is to raise enough funds to shoot the miniature-based special effects sequences for the film. Think Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Alien rather than modern day CGI-based special effects.
Ironically, the first-ever film to use miniature-based special effects was the 1902 Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon) by Georges Méliès.
The technology has come a long way since 1902.
Here's a video of how the Star Wars films used miniature-based special effects to create a galaxy far far away. The BBC recently wrote about how minature-based special effects is making a comeback in the CGI era.
Our goal of $37,000 will allow us to show you what the space elevator can, should and one day will be!
Our model miniatures will be built by Charles Adams, who’s crafted models for major motion pictures and Battlestar Galactica. The image above is his work from the short film C.
Who We Are
We've put together an excellent, passionate team to make Shoot the Moon. The team has worked together on multiple projects including another documentary - Kadi - a film about the dangers poor mothers face in Kenya.
Benjamin has directed short subject documentaries on three continents. He won two Webby Awards for The Engadget Show, an internet doc-series where he first produced a segment on the lunar elevator. He is a lifelong space enthusiast, and a first time feature film director.
Dr. Mahad Ibrahim is a founder and managing partner of Gobee Group, a social innovation design firm that is on a mission to find solutions to the world’s pressing problems through making technology meaningful. Mahad has specialized in producing engaging books, video, film, and mixed media that explain technology simply to broad audiences including a documentary about maternal health in Kenya. He is also a lifelong space enthusiast.
Alexis is a writer who's penned pieces on technology, science and space for Engadget. Based near Florida's Space Coast, he's currently leading content efforts for a technology startup. Alexis has been inside Space Shuttle Atlantis and still can't get over it.
Idil is an award-winning filmmaker who's worked on films showcased at Sundance, Toronto and other festivals. She's usually behind the camera, but she occasionally appears in front of it.
She has lived and worked extensively in East Africa and has produced projects filmed worldwide in places including Serbia, Japan, Turkey, Somalia, Lebanon, Kenya and Uganda, but never the moon! Most recently, she was the female lead in Fishing Without Nets, directed by Cutter Hodierne, which took home the Directing Award for US Dramatic Film at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. She also directed and produced the "Making Of" Fishing Without Nets for VICE and considers herself a seafarer.
Todd is a freelance editor based in New York City who's done work for clients including AOL, NBC, New Balance, Tanqueray and many more.
The amazing team at Make That Thing is helping us with all things Kickstarter. We want to make sure that all our backers are treated right! The best way to do that is to bring in the experts. Make That Thing has a lot of experience managing some of the most successful Kickstarter projects out there.
The greatest reward you will receive from backing this Kickstarter project is knowing that you have contributed to a top-quality independent film about building the biggest thing ever.
We want people to be able to help in ways large and small.
Official Backers at the $10 level will have their name indelibly linked to this film through our website.
In response to your feedback, we’ve just introduced a new way to watch the film. For $15 at the Downloader level, you’ll snag an HD download of the film after its theatrical release. We will, of course, also recognize your critical contribution to making this film with your name on our website. The key difference between the Downloader and Movie Watcher ($25) levels is that you won’t receive access to the online, early-access preview of the film that will happen before the theatrical release.
The Movie Watcher level ($25) gives you special access to an early online screener of the film only available to Kickstarter backers. Shortly after the film has been released, you'll also get an HD download of the film.
A select group of 50 backers will be a Shoot The Moon reviewer ($150). You will participate in an online review of an early cut of the film. Give your notes on the film along with other members of the Shoot The Moon team. Backers at this level will also receive the autographed poster, mission patch, access to the online screener, and an HD download of the film.
What journey to the moon would be complete without your very own commemorative mission patch. The patch will be done in the style of the NASA Apollo mission patches (see image below). The design is not done yet, but we promise it will be very cool! NASA has a nice page showing all the Apollo mission patches. The Mission Patch level ($35) comes with access to the online screening, download and your name enshrined on the Shoot The Moon website. The Mission Patch will only be available from Kickstarter.
No film about space is complete without an iconic movie poster. We're designing a limited edition one just for Kickstarter that'll live up to that tradition. The exclusive poster will capture the splendor of a space elevator and the audacity of the race to build one. It'll be a special way to show you supported this project from the start. The Poster level ($50) also comes with the online screening, download and recognition on the website. For $100 at the Autographed Poster level, you get the poster signed by the filmmakers, plus the patch, online screening, download and recognition on the website.
As a Reviewer you'll be a special part of the filmmaking process for $150. You'll have online access to early parts of the film and can give us notes on what you think. We'll listen and discuss things with you. It'll be as if you're in the editing room with members of the Shoot The Moon team. You'll also score a limited edition Shoot the Moon movie poster signed by Michael and the filmmakers, plus the mission patch, online screening, download and recognition on the website.
Become an ace Lunar Cartographer for $200 with a very cool Shoot The Moon rotating (and solar-powered!) moon globe for your desk! You also get the mission patch, online screening, download, and recognition on the website.
Walk the Red Carpet with us at a private screening for $500. You and a guest will receive tickets to your choice of screening in New York City or Los Angeles. As much as we wish we had a space elevator today to whisk you through lower earth orbit to these cities, we don't! You'll need to find your own transportation to the screenings. We may be able to connect you with Virgin Galactic if you like to travel in style.
For the monetarily unchallenged, we have the Associate and Executive Producer levels. Both tiers receive all the rewards and a credit in the film. The Executive Producer level comes with a top hat, monocle and money bag befitting their status. (Sorry, cash not included.)
Why are we doing a Kickstarter?
There's no doubt that the Kickstarter funds are needed to realize our vision. We're independent filmmakers working with more passion than money to make a film worthy of something that could be the next big leap in human evolution.
Our goal for this Kickstarter is mostly about building a movement. We want to connect with the community of dreamers, doers and all those that believe the sole purpose of science fiction is to foreshadow reality.
We know you are out there and we want this Kickstarter to serve as the base for this journey to Shoot The Moon.
We want to spread the word as far and wide as possible, and we can’t do that without you. After all, we’re making this film for kindred spirits: fans of space, science, technology and real stories where people face insurmountable odds.
Join us in this adventure to Earth's closest companion: The Moon.
We believe in Kickstarter and are active participants in the community.
We had to open a new account for the film, but the members of our team have collectively backed over 60 projects. We've also successfully Kickstarted two of our own.
Our profiles are:
Risks and challenges
We've been around the video production block many times, but this is the first feature-length production we've done. It's possible we may face delays when perfecting special effects, the score and editing, but we think any extra time spent will make for a better film. Plus, once we've got the movie done, sending it out digitally will be a breeze.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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