Film News: ‘Apollo 11’ Documentary in Theaters for 50th Anniversary on July 20, 2019

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CHICAGO – Today is the 50th Anniversary of astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon, and an excellent documentary on the subject – simply titled “Apollo 11” is doing a “one day only” showing on July 20th, 2019. For theater locations and show times around the country (type in your area), click here.

Conceived and directed by Todd Douglas Miller, “Apollo 11” has an extraordinary no narration thread, opting to use and express the miles of available NASA and news footage of the era. Explanations of situational elements having to do with the Saturn V rocket or Lunar Module are shown in 1969 computer graphics. This was one of the most filmed news events of the 20th Century (in one scene, it seems that each of the engineer in Mission Control has a camera on them), so director Miller cleverly allows the pictures of late 1960s technology to inform us again 50 years later.

They Came in Peace: Reflections from Todd Douglas Miller’s ‘Apollo 11’
Photo credit: Neon

Miller’s team used the facilities of Final Frame, a post-production firm in New York City, to make high-resolution digital scans of all available footage. Specialized climate-controlled vans were used to safely transport the archival material to and from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The production team cataloged over 11,000 hours of audio recordings and hundreds of hours of video. There was new software invented to improve the fidelity of the newly available audio. For example, the production team was able to identify “Mother Country,” a song written by folk singer John Sebastian, in Lunar Module voice recordings. The song was subsequently featured in the film.

As a boy, I was blown away by the bigness of the whole thing, and living through I never realized that it wouldn’t happen again during my lifetime. We seemed perched on that Star Trek-ian exploration path that would take us anywhere at anytime. Alas, moon missions have budgets and the danger of them were downplayed. But for one brief moonlit moment, everything seemed possible in that giant leap for human kind.

“Apollo 11” has a one day only release in theaters across the U.S. on July 20th. See local listings or the website link above for theaters and show times. Produced by CNN films. Directed by Todd Douglas Miller. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2019 Patrick McDonald,

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