‘Good Night Oppy’ Director Ryan White NASA Mars Rover — Contenders Documentary   –

In a new documentary Good night OPThe Mars Opportunity rover turns out to be a rugged robot that can: an instrument platform that roams millions of miles across the rusted landscape, looks for signs of alien life, and maintains its expected existence for about 15 years. keeps

But none of the love the audience felt for this unsinkable machine would have been there if it weren’t for the people of Opportunity — “our human characters,” as director Ryan White affectionately calls the famous mission’s engineers, scientists, and programmers. said Without them, “it’s just a box of bolts and wires,” he said at’s Contenders documentary event, which also featured the film’s Oscar-winning sound designer, Mark Mangini, and Emmy-winning composer, Blake Neely. .


RELATED: The Contenders Documentary – Full Coverage

Now in limited release in theaters and streaming on Prime Video, the Amblin Entertainment and Amazon Studios film is narrated by Angela Bassett and was a standout at the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards in November, taking home five trophies including top honors, best Gold for Documentary. Feature

White called the opportunity — “OP” to its creators and maintainers — for all those NASA adventurers who would love to go to Mars themselves. “But since they can’t, she’s our little intrepid, intrepid explorer doing things we can’t do ourselves.” He said, “And so we project our desires, our emotions, our fears. Rovers.”


NASA launched Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, in 2003 and landed them months later on opposite sides of Mars to survey, photograph and poke around. OP Both follow. Spirit got stuck in the sand in 2009 and stopped communicating with teams on the ground in 2010. For another eight years, the rover returned images, data and analysis of ground samples that deepened knowledge of the Red Planet and guided science for future missions. He was last contacted home in June 2018.


RELATED: ‘Goodnight OP’s Ryan White on turning the Mars rover expedition into a thrilling cross between ‘Wall-E’ and ‘The Martian’

The filmmakers drew on the technical capabilities of two California institutions to help make the film: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena provided reams of rover footage, and George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic in San Francisco provided the raw visuals. Converted data to photorealistic film settings. .


Mangini, a two-time Oscar-winning sound designer working on his first documentary, said that NASA gave him audio of the surface of Mars from the later mission Perseverance (since Opportunity had no microphone) to give him opportunities on screen. Let rover prototypes record for of mechanical noise.

RELATED: ‘Goodnight Opie’ Telluride Review: Mars Mission Becomes Heartwarming Documentary From Amazon and Amblin

Neely said that as a composer he treated the chance and soul robots as individuals that the audience would accept – a mandate that he also said was the “two d*ath scenes” of the score. Includes dos, one for each rower.

“My job was to make you believe Opie through the use of a real voice,” Mangini said. “But Black gave you the idea of ​​Opie, and that was essential to our film.”


Check back Wednesday for the panel video.


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