Updated: Apr 17, 2019
From director Todd Douglas Miller (Dinosaur 13) comes a cinematic event fifty years in the making. Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future.
Miller and team were working closely with NASA and the National Archives (NARA) to locate all existing Apollo 11 footage when NARA staff members made a startling discovery that changed the course of the project: an unprocessed collection of 65mm large format footage, never before seen by the public, containing stunning shots of the launch, the inside of Mission Control, and recovery and post-mission activities. The footage was so pristine and the find so significant that the project evolved beyond filmmaking into one of film curation and historic preservation.The other unexpected find was a massive cache of audio recordings—more than 11,000 hours—made by two custom recorders which captured individual tracks from 60 key mission personnel throughout every moment of the mission. Apollo 11 film team members created code to restore the audio and make it searchable, then began the multi-year process of listening to and documenting the recordings, an effort that yielded remarkable new insights into key events of the mission as well as surprising moments of humor and camaraderie.
The digitization of the 65mm collection—as well as the re-scanning of 16mm and 35mm materials—was undertaken at Final Frame, a post-production house in New York City, which helped create a custom scanner, capable of high dynamic range scanning at resolutions up to 8K. The resulting transfer—from which the film was cut—is the highest resolution, highest quality digital collection of Apollo 11 footage in existence. Constructed entirely from archival materials and eschewing talking heads, Apollo 11 captures the enormity of the event by giving audiences of all ages the direct experience of being there. When John F. Kennedy pledged in 1962 to put Americans on the moon by the end of the decade, he described it as a bold act of faith and vision. Apollo 11 bears witness to the culmination of that pledge, when America and the world came together in an extraordinary act of unity and resolve, to achieve one of the greatest and most complex feats in human history.
The mission of Apollo 11 is one of the greatest achievements in human history –hundreds of thousands of people spread across tens of thousands of companies all focused on putting the first humans on another world. At times it felt like our film had just as many moving parts. What started out as a simple editing exercise -could we tell the entire story of the mission using only archival materials –turned into a cooperative effort by an international team of experts to create the definitive work on Apollo 11 for the screen. The remarkable discovery of a cache of untouched large format film and audio recordings added another dimension to the project: it was more than just a film now, it was an opportunity to curate and preserve this priceless historical material. This film only exists because of the tremendous efforts and sacrifices of an extremely talented group of individuals. From the archivists and researchers, to the post production teams and production partners,everyone labored for years to ensure we got it right. We are also indebted to the scores of writers, filmmakers, and researchers that have come before us to build on the canon of project Apollo. And to the astronauts, their families, NASA employees, contractors, and volunteers, many of whom we came to know in the course of making this film, we humbly say thank you. You remind us that great things can be accomplished when people unite for a common goal.
Apollo 11 Launch 1969 Courtesy of NEON CNN FILMS
TODD DOUGLAS MILLER–DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, EDITOR
Todd Miller is best known for his Emmy award winning film, Dinosaur 13, which premiered at Sundance in 2014. His other films include Gahanna Bill, Scaring the Fish, and The Last Steps. He is the founder and co-owner of Statement Pictures, based in Brooklyn, NY, which produces feature films and documentaries as well as large format/IMAX films for science centers and museums. He was born in Columbus, OH, and lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and three children.
Thomas Petersen is a producer, DP, and co-owner of Statement Pictures. He was born and raised in New Orleans and studied journalism before moving to NYC in 2003. Previous documentaries include The Last Steps, The Acquired Savant (his directorial debut), and the Emmy award winning Dinosaur 13. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.
EVAM KRAUSS -PRODUCER
Evan Krauss, a founding partner of NY-based law firm Gray Krauss Sandler Des Rochers LLP, concentrates his practice on music, film, television and new media. Evan works with songwriters, composers, recording artists, music and film producers, writers, directors, and both studio and independent content producers. As a natural extension of his law practice, Evan has also worked as a producer on various film projects, with a concentration in non-fiction. Evan’s various executive producer and producer credits include the documentaries “Hot Girls Wanted”(Netflix Original), “The Lost Arcade,”Showtime acquired films “Porndemic”and “Godfathers of Hardcore”and the cult classic “Cropsey.”
Apollo 11 Buzz Aldrin 1969 Courtesy of NEON CNN FILMS
MATT MORTON -COMPOSER
Matt Morton is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and engineer/producer. He was a founding member of the band The Shantee, and has opened for bands including George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic, The National, and the Neville Brothers. His film credits include Scaring the Fish, Beauty of the Fight, The Last Steps, and the Emmy-award-winning Dinosaur 13. He was born in Columbus, OH where he lives with his wife Jen and a studio full of instruments, including the 1968 Moog Synthesizer IIIc that he used for the Apollo 11 score.
ROBERT PEARLMAN–HISTORICAL CONSULTANT
Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of collect SPACE.com, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for Space.com and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped established the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama.
Photos Courtesy of