The power of the Internet apparently knows no bounds – first web users helped convince the US Government that anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA were bad news, now they’ve nudged NASA into approving the release of Richard Garriott’s short film Apogee of Fear – the first ever sci-fi film shot in space. Way to go, Internet!
The eight minute short was shot by game developer Garriott while he spent time aboard the International Space Station (a trip he paid for out of his own pocket) and started earning buzz last week when the director mentioned that he’d love to release it for the public to see as a companion piece to the indie film Man on a Mission. Unfortunately, NASA wasn’t particularly keen on the idea. They never cited any specific reasons for why they were less than thrilled with idea of Apogee of Fear playing for the public, instead choosing to go with the cryptic “it’s outside the scope of our agreement with Mr. Garriott.”
As news of the film spread and a ground swell of interest grew, Wired got to cracking and contacted NASA directly. They received the following response from Deputy of Communications Bob Jacobs:
“NASA is working with Richard Garriott to facilitate the video’s release. While the project was not part of his original Space Act agreement with NASA, everyone involved had the best of intentions. We hope to resolve the remaining issues expeditiously, and we appreciate Richard’s cooperation and his ongoing efforts to get people excited about the future of space exploration.”
The key part there is “resolve the remaining issues expeditiously.” Apparently NASA may still have some minor issues with what they want the public to see in the film – which could necessitate some minor edits – but they seem dedicated to working out the issues sooner rather than later.
Truthfully, this is a win-win situation for everyone. Garriott gets to showcase his short film, fans get to see the first ever sci-fi film shot in space (which makes it historically important even if the film itself turns out to be less than fantastic), and NASA gets to show everyone how amazing space travel and exploration is in a time where they’re faced with ever shrinking budgets. We don’t often get happy endings in real life – but this is looking like a good conclusion so far.
We’ll bring you more on Apogee of Fear as events develop.