‘Lunar’ short film an ode to the Space Race

Harrison Schmitt on the Moon during Apollo 17. Christian Stangl’s short film Lunar is an ode to the Space Race and Apollo Program. Photo Credit: NASA

Utilizing a mix of various photography and animation techniques, Austrian artist Christian Stangl created a short film called Lunar, which tells the story of humanity’s first voyages to another world.

Lunar opens with views of the Earth and talks about how the Cold War expanded into space in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik – the world’s first artificial satellite – into orbit by the Soviet Union. The Space Race saw its first victor.

Just four years later, in 1961, the Soviets sent the first human into orbit: Yuri Gagarin. This was followed shortly by the United States launching Alan Shepard into space, albeit on a suborbital trajectory.

A few weeks later, in a bid to leapfrog the Soviets, President John F. Kennedy committed the United States on a mission to send the first humans to the surface of the Moon and to return them safely to Earth. Project Apollo was born. Within eight years, Apollo 11 would land the first two people on the Moon. Just three years and five landings later, the Journeys to the Moon ended.

In total, 24 representatives of the human species ventured to the vicinity of the Moon. Twelve people set foot upon its surface. Since 1972, however, no person has gone further from Earth than low-Earth orbit.

Stangl takes thousands of Apollo-era imagery and audio and animates using various techniques to bring the stills to life. Additionally, the music in Lunar was provided by his brother, Wolfgang. The two worked on the film for 18 months.

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