Mel and ‘Moonwalker’–Buzz Aldrin at the ‘Shadows’ Film Premiere

New York City–On September 5, 2007, my husband, Roy Henderson and I, along with dear friends, Christian “C” Mack and his wife, Tenetia, attended the New York premiere of a widely acclaimed documentary entitled, IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON, on the invitation of one of its producers, Academy Award winner, John Battsek.

If you are under 40 years of age, what you will see in the stunning new documentary entitled, IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON and presented by Ron Howard, will seem like science fiction. You were either not yet born or too young to remember the singular event 35 years ago that united an entire world as Apollo astronauts ventured to another planet, and as three billion people on earth watched, man took his first steps on the moon. That man was Neil Armstrong of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission.

Today there are seven billion humans on planet Earth, and only eight more have walked on the moon since Armstrong’s courageous achievement that breathtaking day on July 20, 1969. IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON, crewmembers from NASA’s Apollo missions tell their story in their own words. Under British filmmaker, David Sington’s skillful direction and weaving of visually stunning original NASA film footage, the audience is able to marvel one more time at this moment in history when the Apollo Space Program literally brought the aspirations of a nation to another world.

The 10 Apollo astronauts interviewed in the film include Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell, Alan Bean, Edgar Mitchell, Gene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt, Mike Collins, Dave Scott, Charlie Duke and John Young. This list represents one crewmember from every mission that flew to the Moon.

Noticeably absent in the interviews is Neil Armstrong. However, his presence is felt throughout the film, and his Apollo 11 mission is at the center of the film. The other astronauts speak for him and of him throughout the film. Armstrong remains the most recognized name, and perhaps the most revered of all the astronauts.

Sington said Armstrong expressed his support for the film, but would not agree to be interviewed. Nevertheless, “Neil Armstrong is at the heart of the film,” says Sington.

The Shadow’s producers sifted through volumes of archival audio tapes and film footage that showed more conversations between the astronauts that had not been previously seen or heard in earlier documentaries. With the added new interviews, a wide range of emotions is captured. With the passage of time, the astronauts are no longer required to keep their emotions in check. Sington notes, “Just because they were not experiencing fear doesn’t mean they weren’t feeling a full range of emotions, from wonder and joy to surprise.” “Very intense feelings, just not fear,” Sington adds.

“It was such an extraordinary experience for them to be separated from the home planet, and I believe it took them years before they really understood the implications of it themselves,” said Sington.

And Sington also exclaimed, “I went into the interviews with high expectations, but I must say that I was surprised and delighted at how funny they were in telling their stories.”

In this total feel good, exhilarating movie, Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins, now 76, is one of the most animated astronauts in the film. “To me, the marvel of it is that it (Apollo) all worked like clockwork,” Collins says in the film. “Even I didn’t make mistakes. I have a lot of things I can do wrong, but the consequences should I do them wrong are going to be immediately obvious to three billion people!” Collins was among 27 astronauts in nine Apollo spacecraft that voyaged to the Moon from 1968 through 1972—six of the 27 have died, including three of the Moon walkers.

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