Even though Damien Chazelle’s “First Man” didn’t impress Oscar voters, it reignited a sense of wonder in cinephiles, reminding viewers of the sheer magnitude of the incredible moment in 1969 when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon. Fifty years later, a documentary just as unbelievable in scope will revive that historic moment for audiences, including those who experienced it and those who have only heard tales.
Filmmaker Todd Douglas Miller’s “Apollo 11” is made up of pristine, unprocessed, never-before-seen 65mm footage that was recently discovered in the National Archives, as well as 11,000 hours of uncatalogued NASA audio recordings. Miller and his team then went about digitizing the raw material, creating an 8k transfer that the director has called “the highest quality digital collection of Apollo 11 footage in existence.”
In his review of the film out if Sundance, IndieWire critic David Ehrlich wrote, specifically of the newly-restored 65mm footage: “The clarity takes your breath away, and it does so in the blink of an eye; your body will react to it before your brain has time to process why, after a lifetime of casual interest, you’re suddenly overcome by the sheer enormity of what it meant to leave the Earth and land somewhere else.”
Indie distributor Neon acquired international distribution rights to the film last summer, which was announced on the 49th anniversary of the 1969 landing of the Apollo 11 on the moon by mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin. “Apollo 11” is the second film distribution collaboration between Neon and CNN Films. The first was the documentary “Three Identical Strangers,” a feature-length documentary about triplets separated at birth and then reunited as adults.
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“Apollo 11” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2019. For a look at the stunning digital restoration that has critics wowed, check out the newly released trailer for “Apollo 11” below.