ESA funded film wins special jury prize at Pariscience International Film Festival

28 October 2005

A film financed in part by ESA’s Directorate of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration Programmes has won the Special Jury prize at the Pariscience International Film festival for science films and documentaries. The 52-minute documentary called ‘Plus loin que le bleu du ciel’ (Beyond the blue of the sky), was shown and the prize awarded on 15 October, the last day of the three-day festival. In addition to financing, ESA also helped with the behind the scenes organisation.

The film covers many different aspects of human spaceflight, especially with reference to future exploration missions to Mars. The subject of exploration is covered in the documentary with symbolic reference to the explorers of our own Earth from centuries ago.

A number of international astronauts were interviewed in the making of the documentary including ESA astronauts Jean-Francois Clervoy from France and Gerhard Thiele from Germany. In order to provide a wide range of experience from different space agencies interviews were also undertaken with Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette and former NASA astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz.

Astronaut in extra-vehicular activities

Through the different areas in the documentary the filmmakers and astronauts portray a picture of the motivations behind the need for human spaceflight and how the need for exploration is an innate element of human nature. Astronauts help to explain the feeling of going through training and being on a space mission.

The film examines the changing dimensions of human spaceflight with the need for increased international cooperation on future longer-term missions and touches on certain aspects such as the long-term survival of humanity and the preservation of the Earth through technological advancements and the search for new energy sources. It also highlights the importance of human spaceflight for the cultural development of humankind.

The film was directed by Valerie Winckler and produced by the company Europimages, a video production company based in the Paris area. The documentary was produced for ARTE, the French/German TV network.

The director describes the film as "A film about exceptional people that personalise dreams and how the human dimension must not be neglected in the discovery of the universe ... It is a film about humans for humans, and how their experiences can help to transform our vision of our daily environment."

For more information, please contact:

Dieter Isakeit
Erasmus User Centre and Communication Office
Directorate of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration Programmes
Noordwijk (The Netherlands)
Tel: +31 71 565 5451
Fax: +31 71 565 8008

Piero Messina
Aurora Exploration Programme
Tel: +33 1 5369 7410
Fax: +33 1 5369 7601

Clare Mattok
ESA Communication Department
Tel: + 33 1 5369 7412

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