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Indepth Arts News:

"Mission to Mir"
2000-09-01 until 2001-03-15
Museum of Science and Industry
Tampa, FL, USA United States of America

The countdown has begun. Audiences grounded on planet Earth will soon have the opportunity to soar into space and experience life aboard the first long-term space station - Mir.

Mission to Mir opens at the IMAX Dome Theatre at MOSI Sept. 1 and runs through March 15, 2001.

Filmed in space by the astronauts, this unprecedented giant-screen tour of Russias Space Station Mir gives viewers a unique look inside the weightless home in space that has been occupied by international teams of scientists since 1986. Blending historical footage with ambitious and breathtaking live-action shots, the larger-than-life film, produced by veteran filmmakers Toni Myers and Graeme Ferguson, with assistance from Russian director Ivan Galin, illustrates the personal friendship forged by the former Cold War rivals as they begin working together in orbit. In addition, it emphasizes the success the two nations have found by cooperating rather than competing in the race to space.

Unlike the previous space films, Mission to Mir is really all about these pioneers who are learning to et along with each other in space, explains Toni Myers, who has collaborated with Graeme Ferguson on such Imax produced films as The Dream is Alive, Blue Planet, Destiny in Space, and the IMAX 3D film L5: First City in Space. In this production, for the first time, we were able to document both the American and Russian sides of the story. I think audiences will come away feeling that it is possible for people of different nationalities and cultures to live and work together on such an important venture as space exploration.

Besides showing how the two countries have linked their space programs to take a giant leap forward and establish residency in space, the film provides spectacular views of our Earth from above. Mission to Mir also captures the historic docking of Space Shuttle Atlantis with the Mir space station - a precise, and surprisingly gentle, coupling of 200 tons of technology.

The cinematic adventure delves into the rigorous preparation astronauts and cosmonauts undergo prior to their flights. For a rare behind-the-scenes look at their training program, viewers will visit the Russian cosmonaut community, Star City. The Imax team also makes a rare trip to the launch pad in Baikonur - a site once so secret that it was not located on any maps - to film a thunderous lift-off of the Soyuz rocket.

In the film, astronauts Norm Thagard and Shannon Lucid, the first two Americans to spend time on Mir, provide first-hand accounts of their experiences aboard Mir, and are shown living and working with their cosmonaut colleagues in this small colony orbiting Earth. Even five years ago, would anybody have imagined that the Americans and the Russians were going to spend long periods of time on a space station togetherNULL wonders astronaut Shannon Lucid. But there we were three people from two different countries working and living together for four or five months - and having a really good time!

Lucid, the first American astronaut - man or woman - to spend a record 188 days orbiting 200 miles above Earth, joins her comrades in guiding audiences through the day-to-day activities performed aboard Mir, from scientific experiments to entertaining guests from Space Shuttle Atlantis. In addition to documenting her stay with her Russian counterparts, the film also captures Lucids highly publicized departure from Mir after an eight-week delay.

Mission to Mir involved the creative efforts of a dedicated filmmaking team. Russian director Ivan Galin, who first met and collaborated with Graeme Ferguson during the making of the multi-screen presentation Polar Life for EXPO 67 in Montreal, and then again on the large-format film Blue Planet, directed the Russian sequences for this production. James Neihouse, who trained the astronauts to film in space using the IMAX cameras, is Mission to Mirs Director of Photography for the ground scenes. Imax Senior Vice President, Film, Andrew Gellis, and former Vice President, Film, Jonathan Barker, are Executive Producers. Micky Erbe and Maribeth Solomon, veteran composers for a number of Imax productions, created the musical score.

The Lockheed Martin Corporation has sponsored three previous large-format space films - The Dream is Alive, Blue Planet, and Destiny in Space in partnership with The Smithsonian Institutions National Air and Space Museum - which have been seen by tens of millions of people around the world. As with these previous successes, Lockheed Martin is sponsoring Mission to Mir as a public service and as part of Lockheed Martins involvement in a public-private partnership committed to American space leadership. The films bring home the reality of space as nothing else can, says Norman R. Augustine, Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO. We hope that their majesty and realism will inspire young people to become the scientists, engineers, inventors, astronauts, and teachers we need to achieve the great promise inherent in the exploration and use of outer space.

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