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Documentary Production and Distribution News

Award-Winning Film/TV Composer Blake Neely Scores Documentary Space Shuttle Columbia: A Mission of Hope

By StudentFilmmakers.com
posted Jul 16, 2013, 10:27

Prolific film and TV Composer Blake Neely scores Space Shuttle Columbia: A Mission of Hope, directed by Daniel Cohen, chronicling Col. Ilan Ramon, the first and only Israeli Astronaut, and his ascent into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. PBS released A Mission of Hope on DVD April 23, 2013. Col. Ramon's journey is both physical and spiritual, as he carries with him a miniature Torah that survived the Holocaust, an artifact representing a cross-generational journey through time and space, from the depths of hell to the celestial beings. Neely's score captures the gravitas of this historic act, and the nature of a journey undertaken by a single man that lifted the spirit, as well as acknowledged the past and future, of his entire nation.

A labor of love for director Dan Cohen, A Mission of Hope was produced by Cohen's company West Street Productions. Finished after seven years, the funds to get the film to a mass audience were raised through Kickstarter, which could then be formatted correctly to be shown on PBS. The film premiered PBS on the 10th anniversary of the shuttle disaster, February 1, 2013.

Blake Neely's score for A Mission of Hope mixes passionate strings and pulsing piano to create a sense of reflection and quiet majesty, evoking the hopefulness and profundity of Col. Ramon's space flight. The score soars with a grace and finesse that brings to mind the dexterity and beauty of space flight. Neely's score encompasses of all aspects of the film, from the spiritual journey the ascent of the Torah represents, to the space shuttle itself. At the premiere of Tom Hanks' IMAX film Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3-D, which Blake Neely worked on with producers Mark Herzog and Chris Cowen, Neely met director Daniel Cohen. It was then that Cohen asked Neely to score Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope, and three years later Neely began working on the film. His score for Space Shuttle Columbia: A Mission of Hope mixes strings and piano to create a sense of reflection and quiet majesty, evoking the hopefulness and profundity of Col. Ramon's space flight. Executive producer Chris Cowen stated at a screening, "When we spoke with Blake about the music he understood completely what we were aiming for." Neely has collaborated with Herzog and Cowen on various documentaries and also actor and producer Tom Hanks and his company Playtone Productions on a numerous projects including Starter for Ten and The Pacific, which earned Neely an Emmy nomination.

Blake Neely's scoring credits include the box-office hit Life As We Know It, the recent USA Network mini-series Political Animals, and ABC's recent period drama Pan Am. He has received numerous accolades including three Emmy Nominations and the 2011 Goldspirit Award for Best Theme. Neely is currently scoring The CW's Arrow, now airing, and scores CBS's hit-series The Mentalist on a weekly basis, the sixth season of which will air this fall.

Resources:

www.pbs.org



 

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