Fund This: Trailer for NASA’s Future to Play Ahead of ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’

By  · Published on April 6th, 2013

This week’s Fund This Film is not about a film that needs funding. But it is still about a crowd-funding campaign that is somewhat movie-related. The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) of America has gone to Indiegogo for an effort to spark interest in the U.S. space program, and they’re seeking money to put a promotional trailer into theaters to play ahead of Star Trek Into Darkness. The 30-second video, narrated by Peter “Optimus Prime” Cullen, is a commercial-size edit of a longer NASA promo called “We Are the Explorers,” and it aims to remind us all that the end of the Space Shuttle program did not mean the end of American space exploration. This is especially important now that everyone’s watching Room 237 and becoming convinced that Stanley Kubrick faked the moon landing for the agency.

It’s apparently against the law for NASA to buy advertising space to promote themselves (come on, if the Army can, why not them?), so that’s why the AIA is reaching out to citizens without the agency’s endorsement or involvement. In only six days, the campaign already reached its goal of $33,000, which was to pay for pre-show spots in 58 movie theaters in major cities. Now the hope is to reach $94,000 for an expansion to 750 screens around the country (at least one in every state). Anything above that amount will go back into programs for space science education. Basically this is a way to show your support by helping to grow more support. Anyone can watch the long version of “We Are the Explorers” online (watch after the break), but this will ensure that millions of Americans see it and make the connection that we can continue to boldly go where no man has gone before, for real.

Renewed excitement for our space program came late last summer with the landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars, but that might not have been enough of a boost. On the Indiegogo page, we’re reminded of NASA’s need for more funding:

Many wrongly assume that the space program is flush with cash, but the total funds committed for NASA by the U.S. government each year make up a negligible fraction of the entire federal budget. Space program funding is in fact so small that completely eliminating the NASA budget would not appreciably reduce yearly deficit spending or the national debt in any way. It would however, decimate economic innovation and ground-breaking science.

This campaign, though, is not alone in keeping our interests up. Last month, Disney announced a partnership with IMAX and NASA for a new film by the large-format space documentarian, Toni Myers (Space Station 3D; Hubble 3D). So far untitled, the plan seems to be to show changes happening on Earth viewable from the International Space Station (a la the Myers-scripted and narrated 1990 IMAX film Blue Planet) while also promoting a need for further understanding and exploration of the cosmos (a la the Myers-scripted 1994 IMAX film Destiny in Space), perhaps in order to get our butts off-world when we’ve ruined Earth and need to re-settle on another “Goldilocks,” the term for a habitable planet.

From my paranoid perspective, it sounds like what we’ll really be putting our money towards here, in the long-scope big-picture sense, is the future of mankind’s survival somewhere out there.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.