Directed & Produced by Matt Wolf
2020, 115 minutes
Deep in the Arizona desert, there’s an enormous glass terrarium where a miniature replica of earth’s ecosystem lives called Biosphere 2. Its conception began at a countercultural commune, where an innovative group of artists, adventurers, and ecologists, forged an alliance with a Texas oil scion to create Biosphere 2 as a pilot for Mars colonization. They also hoped that their project would be a model for sustainable living on earth—also known as Biosphere 1.
In 1991 their spectacular project became a media sensation, when eight “biospherians” went to live hermetically sealed under the glass dome for two years. However, shortly after their mission began, the biospherians contended with ecological calamities—from food shortages to oxygen deprivation—and quickly the media’s fanfare turned to scorn. Cult accusations surfaced about the project’s management, and Biosphere 2 was labeled science fiction, instead of credible science.
Despite these tribulations, the biospherians completed their mission, coalescing to cooperatively manage their impact on a model environment. That is until their miniature world was taken over. This is an epic story, spanning half a century, about the forces that threaten our planet, but also the power of small groups to literally reimagine the world.
Neon will distribute the film worldwide in 2020
World Premiere at Sundance Film Festival US Documentary Competition
Impact Partners presents a RadicalMedia Production
in association with Stacey Reiss Productions
Produced by Stacey Reiss & Matt Wolf
Edited by David Teague
Press & Reviews
“A lovely, engrossing documentary flashback. 'Spaceship Earth' reclaims Biosphere 2... from the pop-culture-footnote dustbin, capturing the spirit of genuine idealism and earnest scientific inquiry... An involving, oddly poignant tale that should have broad appeal to those on the lookout for distinctive documentary features... has the excitement and involvement of a fictive sci-fi narrative.” - Variety
"Sci-fi and the counterculture blend in an involving look at the people behind Biosphere 2... Almost as much a drama of public relations as the story of a surprisingly successful collective of '60s dreamers... Fascinating as a case study in turning big ideas into reality.” - Hollywood Reporter
"Tells a story too strange not to be true. The story of 'Spaceship Earth' sounds like the premise of a sci-fi movie, but in true stranger-than-fiction manner, this Sundance premiere is truly out of this world... [It] is no mere 20th century curiosity; it’s a testament to the group of outsiders who did try to grab the world’s attention about climate change through theatrics and to do something substantial about it." – The Wrap
“[An] oddball adventure... A wonderfully bizarre new documentary’... The film, boosted by a trove of archival footage, has the twists and turns of a funnel cake." - New York Post
Vanity Fair Profile
NPR Utah Interview