Europa Report 2013 Comic-Con Panel Live Blog

By Kelly West 2013-07-18 09:40:49discussion comments
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For the love of science! Europa Report is a movie that looks back at the space mission a crew embarks upon in an effort to discover life on Jupiter's moon Europa. As you might imagine, things don't go according to plan. The film arrives in theaters next month, though it's already available to rent on Amazon. Set to appear at the panel today are director Sebastian Cordero, composer Bear McCreary, producer Ben Browning and stars Karolina Wydra. The panel will also include JPL scientists Steve Vance and Kevin Hand. Considering the film's emphasis on science, it'll be interesting to see what they have to say. Here's the official description for the panel:
Thursday July 18, 2013 1:10pm - 2:20pm - Hall H

At the movies, it seems there's so much science fiction, but so little science. Sebastian Cordero's Europa Report seeks to change that. The film depicts a near-future crewed mission to Jupiter's moon Europa, seeking evidence for life in an ocean beneath the moon's icy surface. The movie uses current science to tell a story of discovery and danger. This panel features the film's crew and cast, alongside scientists involved with a NASA concept for a real robotic spacecraft, the Europa Clipper, designed to investigate the mysteries of Europa, including whether it has the elements to support life. Participants include Sebastian Cordero (director, Rage and Chronicles), Bear McCreary (composer, Battlestar Galactica, The Walking Dead), producer Ben Browning, and actress Karolina Wydra, alongside JPL scientists Steve Vance and Kevin Hand. The panel will be moderated by astronomer Dr. Phil Plait (Slatemagazine, Phil Plait's Bad Universe). Space.com called the film "One of the most thrilling and realistic depictions of deep-space exploration since Moon and 2001: A Space Odyssey."

1:20 p.m. PST - Ok, panel starting (a little bit late). Moderator Phil Plait is talking about space exploration, We explore space for resources and to anticipate dangers. And the third reason is "simply to explore. To see what's out there." He says we're monkeys who want to see what's over the next hill. But sometimes it comes with a price, and that's where the story is. Now we're watching the trailer.

1:27 p.m. - Moderator introduces the panel. He begins by talking about Europa, being one of three worlds that has water. Asks Sebastian and Ben why they chose Europa to tell this story. Sebastian talking about trying to find the right balance between thrilling and entertaining. He says he researched Europa and the whole project became 100x more fascinating. He met with Ben and the producers and he wanted to stick to as much realism as possible. That was there intention as well and it all came together. He talks about about how fascinating the discovery of Europa was and the potential for life in its oceans. He says it begs for a story to be told about a mission there and he was lucky enough to be the one to execute it.

1:41 p.m. - Kevin talking about the passion of the characters as scientists.Plait says the scientists felt real to him as a scientist. He says he was on the edge of his seat a couple of times during the movie. Karolina says they had 2 weeks of rehearsal to prepare for the movie.

1:44 p.m. - Sebastian talking about the pacing and the build-up in the film. That leads into another clip. This one focuses on landing on Europa. Bear McCreary's score is particularly great in this clip as we see the shuttle approach the moon. It's a very exciting moment. We can hear the scientists communicating by we're watching the very tiny shuttle approaching the giant moon, getting closer and closer to the surface. It cuts to a split-screen of the scientists right as it seems like the shuttle has landed. Then it cuts to black.

1:47 - They talk about the capsule descending to Europa and how the image of that compares to the Apollo moon landing. Sebastian says the Apollo landing is one of the great inspiring images of space travel history. And now we're off to another clip. This is one of the more suspenseful moments in the film, as Karolina's character gets off the ship and walks along the ice on Europa. She's getting samples ready to scan and send back to the ship. Scientists are all on edge as they get the samples and analyze them. Keeps cutting to another scientist describing how it felt like she was out there for such a long time.

1:51 - During the clip, there was something going on with Karolina's eye. Moderator jokes about eye-training for the scene. He asks her what drew her to the role. Karolina says her character was a marine biologist. It's a dream for her to go to Europa. She wanted to play the passion and love her character has for her work. She's willing to risk her life for her research.

Having some wifi issues. I apologize for the slow updates…

1:53 - Moderator turns to Bear McCreary, who scored the film. Bear says he's played around in a science fiction playground before but he's never seen anything like this. it's a new experience for him because it's so realistic. He says his job was to make sure there's an emotional through-line in there but he also had to do that without destroying the faux-documentary tone. He didn't want to make the score make the film feel "too much like a movie" but if he pulled back too much it lost the emotional impact. He wrote one of the prettiest melodies he's ever written. Says it's an old school cinema trick to do a melody that's stuck in your head.

McCreary says even the editing style is a character in the film. He pretended like he was an employee of Europa Ventures and asked what was the story they wanted to tell. He says the they had a narrative of a story that didn't necessarily go really well (the mission). Sebastian says the music was one of the key elements. Bear says the soundtrack will be out in a couple of weeks and out on iTunes.

2:01 p.m. They're talking about the radiation environment and how it ends up being an important plot element. Ben talking about people leaving the ship and not coming back. He talked about making a list of things that could go wrong on this issue. They dug into "probable scenario" and came up with situations that were fresh and nuanced.

2:04 Karolina says she was very committed to wearing the whole suit. It weighed 50lbs. The camera was on the helmet, which explains how we were able to get such a close look at her eyes. She had to take breaks. The suit was modeled after the real suits but modeled for this mission. 2:04 - Steve says they're working on a design to explore Europa. They're working hard to make it a reality. Kevin says when it comes to what's next, part of what gets Steve and I out of bed each morning (different beds) is the realization that within the next few decades, they're going to have the chance to answer the question of "are we alone?" They're working to get the Europa Clipper mission going. It's a profound time to be alive and do these experiments.

And that wraps it up! If you love science, check out Europa Report!
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