Back to IndieWire

Sundance’s ‘Longest Goodbye’ Eyes the Cosmically Human Toll of Mars Space Travel — Watch Teaser

Exclusive: Ido Mizrahy's documentary parallels the effects of future space travel with the isolation we experienced on Earth more recently.

Expedition 27 Flight Engineer Cady Coleman peeks out of a window of the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft shortly after she and Commander Dmitry Kondratyev and Flight Engineer Paolo Nespoli landed southeast of the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on Tuesday, May 24, 2011.  NASA Astronaut Coleman, Russian Cosmonaut Kondratyev and Italian Astronaut Nespoli are returning from more than five months onboard the International Space Station where they served as members of the Expedition 26 and 27 crews. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

“The Longest Goodbye”

(NASA/Bill Ingalls)

In the next decade, NASA will send astronauts to Mars for the first time. So what’s no doubt a giant leap forward for mankind will also come at a cost for those of us still tethered to Earth and those explorers forced to isolate themselves for years en route to the red planet.

Director Ido Mizrahy (“Gored”) is up for the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition for “The Longest Goodbye,” a nonfiction feature about space travel premiering on the festival’s opening night January 19.

Separated from Earth and unable to communicate with the ground in real-time throughout the three-year journey, NASA crew members will experience extreme isolation that could gravely affect their mental state and the mission. “The Longest Goodbye” follows a savvy NASA psychologist tasked with protecting these daring explorers, who are torn between their dream to reach new frontiers and their need to stay connected to home. This conflict, we soon realize, transcends space travel: How do we balance our drive for progress with the deep connection to our roots and each other?

The talking heads featured in the documentary include Dr. Al Holland, astronaut Kayla Barron, Dr. Jack Stuster, Cady Coleman, Sukjin Han, and Jackie Morie.

Exclusively on IndieWire, watch the teaser for the film below. And here’s the official synopsis from Sundance:

Ever wondered what the reality of spending months on a spaceship might be like? Not the romanticized, exciting vision of a space mission, but the fundamentals of day-to-day reality: the isolation, confinement, and lack of privacy and social contact. Sounds similar to our pandemic lives, you might think. But in this case, it’s your job, and sadly you can’t escape to the woods when you’re feeling blue.

In his engrossing, heartwarming, and beautifully contemplative documentary, Ido Mizrahy ponders the conflict between our need for connectivity and the urge to explore the unknown. Scientists predict that we will have the ability to send humans to Mars (and to return them safely) within the next decade. Dr. Al Holland, a senior NASA psychologist, studies the effects of prolonged separation of individuals from Earth. The Longest Goodbye offers us an opportunity to witness as Dr. Holland investigates the ways to provide support and coping mechanisms to the red planet-bound explorers in order to prepare them for the actuality of becoming a long-mission astronaut.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged ,


Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox