A diverse group of middle-school students go on the journey of a lifetime when they compete in a nationwide tournament to code satellites aboard the International Space Station.
While it’s true today’s 11-year-olds will one day run the world, middle-schoolers in San Jose, CA are taking their summer break to get a head start. Immersed in their own space race, a diverse group of ambitious students enter the Zero Robotics ISS (International Space Station) Competition.
Their mission: compete with teams across the country to write the most strategic code for surveying satellites, known as SPHERES. These satellites will help map out a GPS system to successfully orbit Mars in the future, opening the door to infinite opportunities and exploration on the Red Planet.
Coached by first-time instructor Tanner Marcoida, three of his engaging young students, Adrien Engelder, Advik Gonugunta, and Carol Gonzalez, lead the charge. Each coder-in-the-making brings their own strengths, unique perspectives, and boundless curiosity to their team, together embarking on an out-of-this-world STEM quest that celebrates space, teamwork, and the triumph of the human spirit.
Featuring astronauts Steve Smith, Cady Coleman, and ISS resident Jack Fischer — who performs the students’ incredible achievements in orbit 250 miles above the Earth‘s surface — Thomas Verrette’s inspiring documentary highlights the importance of empowering the next generation of scientists, engineers, and innovators who will fearlessly lead us into the future — and even the unknown…
“Zero Gravity wins as a film because it beautifully involves us with these bright and appealing kids, their families, and their teacher, and with how reaching toward space affects them.
It also wins by subtly showing the power of teamwork, and the benefits of diversity within a team.”
– Sloan Science and Film
Zero Gravity had its world premiere at Cinequest 2021 where it received significant press and rave reviews (Randy Myers, President of the San Francisco Critics Association, named it one of his top 10 films and said ‘It’s a winner!”). It has went on to be an Official Selection at 70+ film festivals including DOC NYC, Cleveland International Film Festival, Heartland International Film Festival, SCAD Savannah Film Festival, Boston Film Festival, New York International Children’s Film Festival, and Washington DC Environmental Film Festival, and more, and has won 15 awards to date, including the Audience Award at the Friday Harbor Film Festival, Critics Choice at the Iowa Independent Film Festival, and Best Feature Documentary at IndieFest Awards and Vegas Movie Awards.
We recently collaborated with SFFILM, Cleveland, Utah Film Center, and Earth X for our first in-person educational screenings, each with 1000+ students attended, complete with cheers and spirited Q&As from the student audiences. They are the heroes in this story and our future after all.
Zero Gravity provides a unique peer-to-peer perspective that we know can help inspire, ignite, and launch new generations towards the world of possibilities in STEM fields, and we need your help to achieve our impact goals…
“I really would like to see this film be available for teachers to share this experience with their classes for years to come.
The diversity of all the students was incredible, and I really enjoyed how they shared their life stories and families outside of the competition, so we as the audience can really get to know each one of them on a personal level.”
– 6th Grade Teacher, San Jose, CA