"Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood"
Visual artist Craig Staggs’ career in rotoscoping began as one of the many animators recruited for Richard Linklater’s 2006 sci-fi thriller A Scanner Darkly. Sixteen years later, Linklater has entrusted the rotoscope character animation of his new Netflix film Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood to Minnow Mountain, the Austin-based studio Staggs co-founded with Steph Swope in 2012. Staggs and Swope also serve as co-producers of Apollo 10 1/2. Linklater’s latest walk down memory lane focuses on one Houston family, with NASA ties, against the backdrop of Apollo 11’s 1969 Moon landing. This family friendly space race drama is fueled by the imagination of Stan, a preteen boy (newcomer Milo Coy) who longs to be an astronaut. Linklater shot his live-action footage at Robert Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios with an Austin-centric cast that includes Coy, Lee Eddy, Bill Wise, Glen Powell, and Zachary Levi. Linklater then sent the edited live-action version of the film to Minnow Mountain to digitally hand-paint the characters during the process known as rotoscoping. Submarine in the Netherlands completed the rest of the computer-animated imagery. Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood, which premiered locally during this year's SXSW Film Festival, opened March 25 at the AFS Cinema and debuted April 1 on Netflix. Co-founded by Craig Staggs and Steph Swope, Minnow Mountain previously produced the animation for Keith Maitland’s documentary Tower, about the 1966 University of Texas tower shooting, and the rotoscope character animation for the surreal Amazon series Undone. The second season of Undone, which stars Rosa Salazar, Bob Odenkirk, and Constance Marie, will premiere April 29 on Amazon.
Aired: March 31, 2022.