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'Apollo 11' lands at Sundance with never-before-seen mission footage


Billed as "a cinematic event fifty years in the making," director Todd Douglas Miller's "Apollo 11" premiered Thursday (Jan. 24) as one of the festival's opening night films. The 93-minute documentary, presented by Neon and CNN Films, was crafted from a newly-discovered trove of large-format, 65mm footage and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings to provide a new look of one of the most iconic and historic moments in human history.

Disclosure: The author of this article, editor Robert Pearlman, served as the historical consultant on "Apollo 11."

"'Apollo 11' tells the story of Apollo 11, the mission, in a direct cinema way," said Miller in an interview with collectSPACE. "The intention was to make an art film out of all of the archival materials that we had available."

"We've jokingly called it 'Dunkirk' in space, but it is a good parallel of the narrative arc of the story in that you're dropped right into mission, right before the launch, and it ends with the astronauts returning home. It's really a fly-on-the-wall, direct cinema experience," said Miller.

The film relies entirely on archival footage and audio to tell the story of the July 1969 Apollo 11 mission, which landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on moon while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit.

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