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SXSW: ‘Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo’ Bought by Gravitas

Variety logo Variety 2/23/2017 Dave McNary
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Gravitas Ventures has acquired worldwide rights from Haviland Digital to the documentary “Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo” ahead of its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival.

Gravitas is planning an April 14 day-and-date release in theaters across the U.S. and VOD.

The film includes archival footage and stories from the creator of Mission Control, Dr. Chris Kraft, retired NASA Flight Directors Gene Kranz (portrayed by Ed Harris in “Apollo 13”), Glynn Lunney and Gerry Griffin. Also appearing are Flight Dynamics Officer Jerry Bostick, Flight Controller John Aaron, astronaut Captain James Lovell (played by Tom Hanks in “Apollo 13”), and moonwalkers Charlie Duke and the late Captain Gene Cernan.

“Mission Control” explores the faltering start of the program to the Mercury and Gemini missions, the tragic Apollo 1 fire and the Moon landings.

“Mission Control” was directed by David Fairhead and produced by Keith Haviland and Gareth Dodds. The three men came to the story of “Mission Control” after their work on “The Last Man on the Moon,” which debuted at SXSW in 2015 and told the tale of Cernan, who flew three times in space and twice to the Moon.

“It’s a real privilege to tell this epic story of a remarkable decade. It shows what vision and teamwork can achieve,” said Haviland.

“Flights into space capture the imagination as much today as they did 50 years ago,” said Gravitas Ventures’ CEO Nolan Gallagher. “From Space X to ‘Hidden Figures’ to ‘The Martian,’ the dreams of millions are carried out by hundreds of heroes both in the air and on the ground at Mission Control. We are thrilled to be working with Gareth and Keith to share this remarkable piece of history with audiences everywhere.”

Fox’s “Hidden Figures,” which centers on the role of female African-American scientists in the early days of the space program, has been a critical and commercial success with three Oscar nominations and $145 million in domestic grosses.

The deal for “Mission Control” was negotiated by Nolan Gallagher for Gravitas, and Dodds and Haviland for Haviland Digital.

Watch the theatrical trailer below:

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