Published: 19 Jun 2019

New Film: ‘Prisoners of the Moon’

Leitrim-based filmmaker Johnny Gogan is about to release his latest documentary film ‘Prisoners of the Moon’.  Johnny was among the Irish filmmakers supported by the ‘Creative Edge’ project to participate in the FilmArc Masterclass and Creative Summit conference in Skellefteå, Sweden in the summer of 2013.  The production of ‘Prisoners of the Moon’ also benefited from a creative industries micro-loan from the Western Development Commission.

The new film is released in Irish cinemas on Friday 28 June.  As the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing on July 19 there are many films and programmes rightly celebrating this unique human achievement. However, there is a dark story behind the success, which is revealed in the new documentary ‘Prisoners of the Moon’.

In 1969, Arthur Rudolph had been the much-honoured lynchpin of the first moon landing. 21 years later, the respected scientist was arrested for war crimes.  Did the man who built the Saturn V moon rocket help work 20,000 slave labourers to death in WWII?

50 years after the Apollo 11 mission, Johnny Gogan’s drama documentary, co-written with English journalist Nick Snow, tells the hidden horror story behind the NASA space programme, and of the only former Nazi – one of Wernher von Braun’s 120 strong “Rocket Team” –  to be stripped of his American citizenship and deported.

Weaving archive material and expert interviews with recreated courtroom drama from Nick Snow’s original research – rendered from previously unseen transcripts of scientist Arthur Rudolph’s tribunal – we learn about the Germans who led the moon shot, their wartime records, the cover-up that brought them to America, why it took forty years to investigate them, and why none of them were ever brought to trial.


"We don’t want to rain on the Apollo 11 parade – those astronauts were heroes - but there are other kinds of heroism, stories of great human endurance connected with the development of rocket technology and these stories also deserve to be told alongside all the headline celebrations."


‘Prisoners of the Moon’ opens in Ireland on Friday 28 June and in the UK on Friday 5 July.  Cinemas in the Western Region of Ireland include Eye Cinemas Galway, Carrick Cineplex, Sligo Omniplex and Abbey Cinema, Ballyshannon. For information on upcoming screenings please visit www.prisonersofthemoon.com.


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