Over the past five years, Hudson valley based director Robert Stone has been working on CHASING THE MOON, an epic political and social, historically accurate rendition of the race to the moon, that will premiere on PBS on July 8, 9 and 10 at 9pm Eastern.
“My latest film, CHASING THE MOON, is a six-hour documentary about the 25-year effort to send humans to another world - from the ashes of World War II to the triumph of Apollo 11 - and beyond,” recounts director Robert Stone. “ The film has been a five-year labor of love and was made largely right here in the Hudson Valley. It’s a 100% archival documentary with no narration and no talking heads so it was primarily a post-production project. Editing and production management was done largely out of my studio in Rhinecliff (my co-editor, Lindy Jankura, works in Brooklyn). The many months of work at image restoration and color correction was undertaken by Chad Smith of Massive Clouds in Kingston. Sound editing and mixing was done by Coll Anderson of CA Sound in Bearsville. One of the things I love about living and working in the Hudson Valley is collaborating with dedicated professionals, and friends, whose value system is to put the work first, rather than the money first. The result is an epic documentary about the race to the moon, by far the biggest thing I’ve ever done, with an overall production quality that’s second to none - and done almost entirely without leaving home.”
Among those included in the film, are astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Frank Borman and Bill Anders; Sergei Khrushchev, son of the former Soviet premier and a leading Soviet rocket engineer; Poppy Northcutt, a 25-year old “mathematics whiz” who gained worldwide attention as the first woman to serve in the all-male bastion of NASA’s Mission Control; and Ed Dwight, the Air Force pilot selected by the Kennedy administration to train as America’s first black astronaut.
Stone also co-wrote, with Alan Andres, the companion book CHASING THE MOON, published by Random House.
Chad Smith is a Kingston based post-production wiz, as well as the owner of massiveclouds.tv. He had this to say when asked to weigh in on his work experience on the series. “Robert and I started talking about working together on CHASING THE MOON a few years ago. He came to me to color correct the initial funding trailer that he cut. Robert made great efforts to obtain the best copy of footage used in the film. Some clips however were not captured under ideal conditions or had in camera issues. So even the best version of something would still need a bit of polish. After many months the end result looks great. I have been both humbled and honored to be part of this extraordinary project. As this Doc is sourced entirely from archival materials, the quality of sources was widely varied, from Russian home movies, the first color TV broadcast to footage shot by the astronauts themselves. Every source presented their own challenges. Each shot needed attention in regards to color and noise to be able to sit within the context of the program.
In addition to the color challenges we also had technical considerations that needed to be addressed, frame rate conversions, up-scaling, deinterlacing, stabilization, dust removal and de-flickering all needed to be considered on a shot by shot basis. It has been very gratifying to work on iconic footage like JFK’s speech at Rice University. After many months the end result looks great. I have been both humbled and honored to be part of this extraordinary project.”
“CHASING THE MOON is my sixth film with Robert Stone and I would venture to say the boldest and most exciting undertaking with him,” said sound editor and mixer Coll Anderson. “We were presented with no on camera interviews and mountains of historical footage, which , for the most part, had no sound at all. It was great fun re-creating the sound of these images in a way that did not interrupt the historical content and had a sort of verisimilitude at the same time. All this while embracing the drama of the story. And what a great story it is! I love how deep in talent the Hudson Halley is becoming with respect to filmmaking,” added Anderson..”It's a great place to feel part of and call home. I am super proud to be working here.”
MORE ABOUT Robert Stone:
Robert Stone is a multi-award-winning, Oscar®-nominated and Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker. He gained considerable recognition for his first film, Radio Bikini (1987), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature.
Multi-tasking as a producer, director, writer, editor and cameraman, Stone has over the last 30 years developed an esteemed international reputation for his unique and critically acclaimed feature-documentaries about American history, pop-culture, the mass media and the environment. His best-known work includes Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (2004), which premiered at Sundance and went on to become one of the
most highly-acclaimed theatrical documentaries of the year. The film was followed by the documentary feature Oswald’s Ghost (2007) for which Stone earned his second Emmy nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Non-Fiction Filmmaking. Earth Days (2009), which premiered as the closing night film at Sundance, traced the emergence of the environmental movement in the United States, from its beginnings in the 1950s to the first Earth Day celebration in 1970 and the political action that followed it. Pandora’s Promise (2013), an audience favorite at Sundance, prompted considerable controversy by telling the intensely personal stories of environmentalists and energy experts who have undergone a radical conversion from being fiercely anti- to strongly pro-nuclear energy. Stone has screened several of his films at the Woodstock Film Festival.
For more information about CHASING THE MOON, visit https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/chasing-moon
For more about Robert Stone, visit http://robertstoneproductions.com