NASA approached the Houston Cinema Arts Society over two years ago with the idea of forming a partnership to reach out to filmmakers and artists. NASA has an enormous archive of media that is available free to the public but until now has been difficult to access. NASA’s goal was to make this treasure trove of moving images, still images, and sound readily available to the public and they are developing a new internet portal which will help to fulfill this mission – but they needed to publicize its existence.
HCAS was looking to add a competitive element to their curated Houston Cinema Arts Festival.
A joint project between HCAS and NASA presented a mutually beneficial opportunity.
Blackchair’s Patrick Kwiatkowski, working as an advisory board member of HCAS, helped to conceive and develop “Cinespace”. Using the framework developed for Independent Exposure – Blackchair’s pioneering shorts festival, Patrick worked with HCAS Director Trish Rigdon and NASA’s Dan Jacobs to develop a shorts festival that required filmmakers to use at least 10% of NASA archive materials in their works. The festival finalists would be selected by a jury of HCAS and NASA representatives and prizes awarded by a qualified, experienced, well-known judge. The festival premiered at the Houston Cinema Arts Festival in November of 2015 and is now traveling to other film festivals worldwide.
The Result and Benefits:
By HCAS’ and NASA’s accounts, Cinespace 2015 was a resounding success. The festival premiered to a sell-out audience at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in November 2015. It is now traveling to other film festivals worldwide. NASA and HCAS are working on Cinespace 2016 now.
Cinespace received 194 submissions from 22 countries and 32 states. The finalists were selected by a jury of HCAS and NASA representatives including Blackchair’s Kwiatkowski and astronaut Don Pettit.
Richard Linklater (School of Rock, Boyhood, Slacker) was the judge (and returning to judge in 2016!)
300 Film Organizations, 544 Film Schools
275 in 2015
Screenings in 2016
Ashland Independent Film Festival, April 7 – 11
Bemidji State University Student Film Festival April 1 – 3
More being scheduled
image: still from
Fernando Dueñas Peña
Courtesy NASA, HCAS, Fernando Dueñas Peña