The Satellite Sky
Produced for the PBS history series ‘American Experience,’ The Satellite Sky unfolds without narration or interviews to paint an impressionistic portrait of the dawn of the Space Age. The film sheds new light on how the race to the moon was an outgrowth of the Cold War military rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States. The Space Race became perhaps the most perfect expression of this rivalry: the ultimate propaganda vehicle for projecting the superiority of one society of the other. Plans for orbiting battle stations, trips to the moon, Mars and beyond, and the creation of state-sponsored heroes (spacemen) were all part of the panorama of the time. Using obscure archival material from a wide variety of sources including Soviet and American science fiction films, government propaganda films, US Air Force films, newsreels, NASA footage and old television shows, The Satellite Sky takes an ironic look at the imagery of the space age and examines the race as it was seen at the time. Unlike virtually ever other film that has been made on this subject, The Satellite Sky asks the question, why?. Part of the answer can be found on the night of October 4, 1957, the night Sputnik first appeared in the skies over America, the night the space age began. It was believed at the time that whoever controlled space would control the planet. What followed is one of the great dramas of our time, of which The Satellite Sky is a thoroughly unique portrait.
The Satellite Sky was digitally re-mastered and enhanced with new graphics and effects and a new original score. The work was completed by Robert Stone Productions in October 2007.
16mm | Color and B&W | 57 minutes
ROBERT STONE: Producer, Director, Editor
DEVIN PICKERING: Music
Jane Balfour Films, London
“Brilliant. This is the space age as comedy… exudes a weird feeling of having been put together by an otherworldly intelligence who came across footage in a time capsule.”
– LOS ANGELES TIMES
“A brilliant documentary… a piercing satire and a poignant homage to American innocence, perseverance and naiveté.”
– CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
“‘Right Stuff’ fans will find ‘The Satellite Sky’ a close encounter of the thrilling kind. This is a refreshing break from the traditional documentary format… Amazing stuff.”
– CHICAGO TRIBUNE
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