'Apollo 18' Is 'Not a Documentary,' Says NASA
While NASA will often work with filmmakers who are showcasing space or the moon on a film, the agency is backing away from Dimension Films' Apollo 18.
The science fiction horror film, which opens in theaters Friday, makes the claim that the Apollo 18 mission, which was officially canceled, actually did go to the moon, but never returned.
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The Dimension Films project is shot in a documentary-style, and NASA does not want the public to get confused.
"Apollo 18 is not a documentary," Bert Ulrich, NASA's liaison for multimedia, film and television collaborations, told the Los Angeles Times. "The film is a work of fiction, and we always knew that. We were minimally involved with this picture. We never even saw a rough cut.”
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The opening of the trailer for Apollo 18, directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego, has text on the screen that reads, “In 1972, the United States sent two astronauts on a secret mission to the moon. Despite decades of denial by NASA and the Department of Defense, classified footage of the mission was leaked to the media." The film portrays all of the video to be unearthed footage from the actual mission.
“The idea of portraying the Apollo 18 mission as authentic is simply a marketing ploy. Perhaps a bit of a 'Blair Witch Project' strategy to generate hype,” said Ulrich.
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NASA retired its space shuttle program in July, but realizes the importance of keeping the public’s interest in space, which can often be helped through films. Last year, the agency assisted with 100 documentaries, and 16 feature films.