short is beautiful

NASA’s image archive has never been put to better use

A short film contest finds fabulous ways to revisit outer-space footage captured over the years.

Propelling into the unknown.

Beautiful visuals of space.

Will humans become extinct?

Will we have to look for new planets to colonize?

These are the themes of the 16 short film finalists for the first CineSpace competition, a unique collaboration between the Houston Cinema Arts Society and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Fifty years worth of images captured by NASA have been mashed up with fictional storylines to create innovative and beautiful short films. All the chosen films are less than 15 minutes in length, and cut across genres, including sci-fi and documentary. Houston native, director Richard Linklater, helped pick 16 finalists out of the 194 films that were submitted from all over the world.

The winner of the competition, Higher Ground, by Mary Magsamen and Stephan Hillerbrand, explores themes of solidarity and togetherness through the story of a family plunging into outer space.


Among the finalists is another gem, Red Pearl, about a Nigerian woman who travels to Mars to keep her mother’s spirit alive. How can a film that starts with a Carl Sagan quote go wrong anyway? The short has been directed by Houstonian Wayne Slaten.


Sweet, touching and heart-warming: here is another film that says a lot without dialogue within the space of five minutes.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Vistara and not by the Scroll editorial team.