Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Sunday Evening Video: Back To Outer Space

In honor of yesterday’s fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, this week we’re going to revisit a previous Sunday Evening Video, and re-present Tim and Lisa Weedn’s NASA documentary, The Edge of Utopia. We first brought this to you over a year ago.

I’ve told you about the work of Studio Joe, Tim and Lisa Weedn, and the work they do making hilarious stop-motion videos with action figures, many of whom look a bit Joe-ish. You can see their work HERE and HERE.

That’s not all they’ve done. Between 1995 and 1996, Tim and Lisa wrote, produced, and directed a full-length documentary for PBS. With a huge assist from the fine folks of NASA’s film library at the Johnson Space Center in Houston Tim and Lisa created a fast-paced hour that celebrates America’s amazing space program.

The Edge of Utopia will take you back to a long-forgotten era when intelligence was considered a virtue, and science had not been disrespected and co-opted by special interests. We never would have been able to go to the moon if the Koch Brothers had been throwing their money around back then. This film shows what we can accomplish when we put politics aside and treat scientists and engineers with respect. It sure would be great to get back to that situation. In today’s world, that goal seems farther away than the moon did back in 1969.

The program aired on PBS in 1997 and 1998, then took a trip to the Cannes Film Festival where it was picked up for a five-year world tour. It was particularly ‘big’ in Canada, Poland, and Australia. As Tim says, “Not bad for our first effort. Low budget as low budget gets. We mastered on S-VHS then had it kicked up to Beta Digital for broadcast. Particularly proud of the music score which I composed and performed.”

Thanks again to Tim and Lisa, for making this available.

1 Comment

  1. Bill Barbre

    Excellent! Tim and Lisa rock!

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