Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Faster Than Light, new Spitz fulldome title, explores longstanding quest to develop spacecraft to reach the stars

Narrated by Sean Bean of “Lord of the Rings” fame, “Faster Than Light” asks: What will it take to reach a newly discovered planet circling our Sun’s nearest neighbor, Proxima Centauri?

Thomas Lucas,
director, "Faster Than Light"
“Faster than Light: the Dream of Interstellar Flight,” is a new, 25-minute documentary created for digital dome cinema (fulldome) exhibition in planetariums, museums and educational institutions. It is distributed by Spitz Creative Media, Mirage3D and Thomas Lucas Productions, Inc. and available for general release in all fulldome formats. The project was supported by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Film Office. 

Previews and additional information here:

Based on real science and engineering, “Faster Than Light” takes audiences on a thrilling journey into the future, aboard laser-driven space sails, antimatter engines, and even warp drive - right out of science fiction. “Who can say how far, and how fast, our technology will one day take us?” said director Thomas Lucas. 

Combining matter and anti-matter inside a spacecraft’s engine
would create a beam of almost pure energy that could propel
the craft to 50% the speed of light. Photo: Spitz Creative Media.

Jiří Dušek at Fulldome Festival Brno

Honored at Brno
In June 2017, “Faster Than Light” received industry acclaim and the Directors Award from the prestigious Fulldome Festival Brno (Czech Republic), where it was seen by some 125 planetarium professionals and competed against more than 40 productions from six different countries. The honor includes a one-year license at the host facility, where it will open in the fall. “I am proud that we are one of the first to present ‘Faster Than Light,’” said Jiří Dušek, Director of Brno Observatory and Planetarium and Program Director of Fulldome Festival Brno. He praised the show for “an attractive theme, beautiful animations, and fresh storyline.” Said Dušek, “On the wings of the imagination but still within the limits of scientific correctness, you can set out on a journey across the entire universe. I have no doubt that ‘Faster than Light’ will be an incredible experience for our visitors.”

“Faster Than Light” has also been licensed by the Eugenides Foundation (Athens). “We have worked with Spitz before and been very happy with their visual capabilities,” said Dionysious P. Simopoulos, Director Emeritus, Eugenides Planetarium. “We committed to lease “Faster Than Light” immediately after they announced the title and subject matter, knowing it would work for us.” A number of other planetariums throughout the U.S. will be opening the show this summer and fall.

The story behind the story
Three years in the making, “Faster Than Light” was produced by Robin Sip (Mirage 3D), Mike Bruno (Spitz Creative Media) and Thomas Lucas (Thomas Lucas Productions). Brad Thompson (Spitz) and Leon Verschoor (Mirage3D) directed the visual production.

Robin Sip of Mirage 3D and Brad Thompson of Spitz
at Fulldome Festival Brno
“We chose the grand story of interstellar flight because it’s richly thematic and the human quest resonates with people,” said Lucas. “Scientists are discovering that the galaxy is filled with planets. Telescopes are coming online that are going to be able to look at some of these worlds and determine whether there are atmospheres and possible signs of life.”

The grandness of the themes explored by “Faster Than Light” resonated with audiences in extensive pre-release testing at the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Burke Baker planetarium (Digistar True8K™system), and the Planetarium at the State Museum of Pennsylvania (Spitz ScidomeXD) in Harrisburg.

The test audiences included members of the general public as well as school groups and their teachers, and museum staff. According to Harrisburg Planetarium director Linda Powell, “Students focused on the beautiful animations of the spacecraft and propulsion systems. Adults were intrigued to find that their childhood science fiction is becoming science reality, specifically when it came to antimatter engines. Teachers were excited to think about the different ways they can connect the show to curriculum. I’m looking forward to screening the final product to Museum visitors in the near future.”

Mike Bruno,
Spitz Creative Media
“‘Faster Than Light’” offers a compelling and credible story for our time with broad audience appeal, speaking to a wide range of ages, interests and educational topics,” said Mike Bruno of Spitz Creative Media. “We think our planetarium clients will find it an enduring and versatile title for public and educational programming. We’re very proud of what the team has accomplished and pleased to add ‘Faster Than Light’ to the Spitz fulldome library.”

“Faster Than Light” is distributed by Spitz Creative Media, Mirage3D and Evans & Sutherland.