‘First Orbit’ Space Film Calls for Crowdsourced Translation


On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man to see the Earth from space. In 2011, the rest of the world can see what Gagarin saw — that 108-minute ‘First Orbit‘ — courtesy of the International Space Station.

And now the makers of the film First Orbit, having seen the remarkable popularity of the project, are asking the world to help them translate the film into as many languages as possible.

A pioneer in post digital film production and distribution, producer Chris Riley, chair of Science and Media at the University of Lincoln (UK), harnessed the power of crowd sourcing to generate over 1,600 premiere screenings for First Orbit in more than 130 countries in April, making First Orbit one of the most widely premiered independent films in history.

“At this time, we received multiple requests for the film in different languages, but didn’t have the resources to supply it with anything other than English subtitles”, recalls Riley. “So in preparation for future anniversary screenings around the world we’d like to tap into this international, multilingual community of fans, which the project generated, to translate First Orbit into as many languages as possible.”

Riley believes that this will be the first time that Gagarin’s full Vostok 1 mission transcript will have been translated into multiple languages, making it even more accessible to scholars and space exploration history fans for generations to come.

His ‘viral’ call to action, to translate the film into as many languages as possible, was announced today at the International Astronautical Congress, Cape Town, to the largest annual assembly of space professionals on Earth. Anyone wishing to help can download a transcript of the entire film from www.firstorbit.org/join-us.

The following call to action statement from Chris Riley was delivered to congress by Professor Chris Welch, of the International Space University (ISU), Strasbourg, France and one of the principal collaborators on First Orbit, as part of a First Orbit analysis presentation:

“The words Yuri Gagarin spoke when orbiting the earth in 1961 are so very important to the history of humankind that they should be accessible to as many people on Earth as possible. With your help we aim to ‘virally crowd-source’ the translation of the film into as many languages as possible and have chosen to launch this call to action at the 2011 International Astronautical Congress in the hope that, with your help, we can reach the widest possible audience.” Chris Riley, Director and Producer, First Orbit.

The First Orbit viral experiential premiere event generated 1600 public screenings in more than 130 countries around the world, and attracted over two million viewings on YouTube within the first 48 hours, making it the most watched long form film release in YouTube history.

”Internet driven film distribution has given us an opportunity to make direct connections with audiences across the world. Now it’s their chance to get involved with the next stage of this unique project. I can’t wait to see how many translations we receive back.”

First Orbit was made in collaboration with the European Space Agency and the Expedition 25 through 27 crews of the International Space Station.

The film ‘First Orbit’ was created by matching the orbital path of the International Space Station, as closely as possible, to that of Gagarin’s Vostok 1 spaceship.

Matthew Tabor

Matthew Tabor

Matthew is a prolific, independent voice in the national education debate. He is a tireless advocate for high academic standards from pre-K through graduate school, fiscal sense and personal responsibility. He values parents’ and families’ rights and believes in accountability for teachers, administrators, politicians and all taxpayer-funded education entities. With a unique background that includes work in higher education, executive recruiting, professional sport and government, Matthew has consulted on new media and communication strategies for a broad range of clients. He writes the blog “Education for the Aughts” at www.matthewktabor.com , has contributed to National Journal’s ‘Expert’ blog for Education , and interacts with the education community on Twitter and Google+.