With the support of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Industrial Light & Magic, the film recounts the true story of Mars exploration rover Opportunity and the bond forged between the robot and the humans that created her. Opportunity, nicknamed “Oppy,” was originally expected to live for only 90 days, but ended up exploring the Red Planet for nearly 15 years.
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“We are so thrilled to be working with these extraordinary partners to bring Oppy’s story to our global customers,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios. “The innovation and determination that made Oppy’s journey possible, and the spirit of discovery that drives the team at JPL, are an inspiration. As we celebrate their achievements, we are delighted to also be working with the extremely talented filmmaker Ryan White, and our friends at Amblin Television and Film 45 to bring this heartwarming story to life.”
Through riveting visual effects created by ILM, audiences will be transported to Mars alongside the robot. JPL, which successfully landed Opportunity’s “younger sister” Perseverance on Mars last month, is providing the filmmakers with access to never-before-seen footage for the doc, along with their scientific expertise and knowledge of Oppy’s mission.
Producers are Amblin Partners’ Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, Film 45’s Brandon Carroll and Matt Goldberg and Tripod Media’s Jessica Hargrave and White. Stephen Neely and Max Wagner will serve as executive producers. Clint LaVigne will oversee the day-to-day development of the project for Amblin, alongside Frank and Falvey.
“It was impossible not to fall in love with the story of Oppy – one of hope, ambition, adventure and exceeded expectations, and an exploration of the special relationship between mankind and technology, which ticked all the boxes for our Amblin brand,” co-presidents at Amblin Television Frank and Falvey said. “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with our friends at Amazon Studios, Film 45 and Tripod Media to bring Oppy’s miraculous story to life.”
Previously, White directed 2020 documentary “Assassins,” exploring the murder of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s brother, which premiered at Sundance to rave reviews. White also directed “Visible: Out on Television,” the first documentary series on Apple TV Plus. He also directed numerous series, such as Hulu’s “Ask Dr. Ruth” and the Emmy-nominated Netflix series “The Keepers.” He won the Directing Award at Sundance and was shortlisted for the Academy Award for HBO’s “The Case Against 8.”
“I grew up on films like E.T. and Wall-E, so to make a documentary with similar themes of wonder and awe has been a joy,” White said. “We’re thrilled to work with Amazon to bring the story of Oppy and her humans to global audiences of all ages.”
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