THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay born Matthew Cimone and Paul Muzzin set out in July of 2011 with a mission: film a 2000km journey to Florida to see the last-ever space shuttle launch; the launch of space shuttle Atlantis. As a child, Matthew dreamed of becoming an astronaut. He grew up learning about the stars from his grandfather who revealed the night sky on the shores of Shebandowan lake at their family cottage. When Matthew discovered his less-than-perfect eyesight had disqualified him from becoming a jet pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force, a path used by several Canadians to join the space program, Matthew thought he had lost the stars.
Fast forward 15 years: Matthew sated his desire to explore by working abroad in the international aid sector founding his own charity, but he continued to keep one foot in the space and space sciences world. When he learned that the space shuttle was due for its final launch before being retired in July of 2011, he decided that this opportunity couldn’t be missed. Matthew had yet to see a shuttle launch in person. Rather than experience the historic moment on his own, he wanted to bring as many people with him as possible to reconnect with this childhood passion. What better way to share the moment than with a camera?
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Matthew approached friend and founder of Riptide Studios, Paul Muzzin. Paul and Matthew had graduated from Thunder Bay’s Fort William Collegiate Institute together where they both had spent hundreds of hours editing short films on the school’s video editing studio. Not only was the equipment studio quality but FW was the only high schools at the time to feature such equipment. Paul went on to graduate from Toronto’s Sheridan College in film and his expertise would help bring Chasing Atlantis to life.
Chasing Atlantis began as a road-trip documentary. The pair set out with three other friends to capture Atlantis’ final launch. But as they set out on their quest, the documentary began to grow. In response to their journey, the team drew the interest of the Canadian Space Agency, current and former astronauts, science fiction stars, other space geeks, and from NASA itself. The Chasing team has since completed 3 follow-up visits to Florida, dozens of interviews, and had close encounters with all 4 remaining shuttles including Atlantis itself and the final astronaut crew that piloted her in July of 2011.
“There are many films that focus on the technology surrounding shuttle. But we are more interested in the people; those like us who couldn’t help but stare at the night sky in wonder. It’s also a great underdog story. We took a road trip to see a shuttle launch from 10 miles away and ended up standing directly beneath the shuttle’s wing at her retirement part just last Friday November 2nd surrounded by heroes who went to the moon. It’s been an incredible journey and we are really excited to share it” Cimone said.
The film has been completely self-funded, however the team has just launched an IndieGoGo campaign online to raise funds to push the film toward completion by building a community of supporters. The campaign features the team’s latest trailer for the film, due to be feature length, and provides great incentives like merchandise and production credits for those who financially support the venture.
The Chasing Atlantis Fundraising Campaign and latest trailer can be found at: www.indiegogo.com/chasingatlantis
The Chasing Atlantis Website is at www.chasingatlantis.com
Chasing Atlantis, produced through Riptide Studios, is due to hit film festivals next year.