Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Gaga For Gagarin


'Space cadets' offered a share of Gagarin's limelight

AN independent filmmaker is offering British space enthusiasts the chance to add their names to a roll-call commemorating Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (pictured) – the first man to venture into Earth orbit.

For a small sum star-struck cosmo-philes can get their name included in the credits of 'First Orbit', celebrating the trailblazing spaceman's historic 1961 flight. The film, put together from original archive footage by London-based filmmaker Chris Riley, is said to be the first time the story of Gagarin’s complete spaceflight has been told in his own words (Russian).

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin inaugurated the era of human spaceflight when he became the first man to be blasted into Earth orbit on 12 April 1961. The Soviet cosmonaut’s historic voyage in Vostok 1 lasted a ‘mere’ 108 minutes. The flight was controlled by auto-pilot – at the time nobody knew what effects spaceflight might have on a human being – and so Gagarin was only permitted to assume manual control in an emergency. The capsule’s landing system was deemed too rough for the cosmonaut to risk, so Gagarin ejected seven miles high and completed his return home by parachute. Though he might have been more a passenger than a pilot during the flight, it did nothing to detract from the achievement as he stepped into the history books.

Sunrise over the South Atlantic
Riley claims his film is already a global YouTube hit, with almost 3.5 million views. Now, following a growing number of requests, the producer/director is looking to release the film on DVD and Blu-Ray in 30 different languages later this year.

By selling spaces in the credits, Riley is looking to ‘crowd fund’ the costs of manufacturing the new release. He has already sold a number of film credits to people in 15 countries. Essentially, people buy credits to become an associate or executive producer.

Film credits start from $10. Individuals who pre-order a copy in either format will also get their name in the credits. There are also corporate slots on offer, with this 'title sponsor' package set to cost companies $15,000. Anyone interested in signing up to the roll call of funders can buy their credits at the 'crowd funding' site Indiegogo.com.

“We’ve created a unique opportunity for people across the UK to add their names to this historic film, and I hope people will join us in this way to celebrate what Yuri’s flight still means to the British people,” said Riley.

Chris Riley, director/producer, 'First Orbit'
After completing his PhD at Imperial College, University of London – where he worked on data from the Spacelab 1 project – Riley embarked on a career making science documentaries for the BBC. He has worked with the NASA film archive for the past 15 years on projects ranging from the BBC’s ‘The Planets’ series to the feature documentary ‘In the Shadow of the Moon’.

Gagarin’s historic flight isn’t the only moving-image celebration Riley has created. In the summer of 2009, his ‘Apollo Raw and Uncut’ marked the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon. The movie was played at galleries in London and Montreal and it was the first time that the entire 23 hours of the Apollo mission flight film had been screened in public.

The DVD and Blu-Ray editions of the film are planned for release in April 2012.

MC

Category: NEWS

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