Thomas Verrette Talks Zero Robotics Competition in Zero Gravity Documentary [Exclusive Interview]

Zero Gravity directed by Thomas Verrette

Zero Gravity directed by Thomas Verrette

Space is the final frontier or rather the new frontier for many young explorers.

With Mars in the plans for space exploration, the International Space Station (ISS) made a call to middle school and high school students around the globe to participate in its robotics programming competition called “Zero Robotics.”

Director Thomas Verrette followed the journey of one group of middle school students from California as they compete in a nationwide tournament to code mini-satellites for operation on the International Space Station.

These robots are SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites) that assist astronauts in zero gravity. The teams first compete online to submit their codes for the annual challenge. After several phases of virtual competition in a simulated environment that mimics real SPHERES, finalists are invited for a live championship aboard ISS with real SPHERES and an astronaut.

Here’s the official synopsis:

In the all-new feature documentary Zero Gravity, a diverse group of middle school students and their first-time coach each take an intimate and personal journey to space when they compete in a nationwide tournament to code satellites aboard the International Space Station. As a team, they grow from amateur coders to representing California in the ISS Finals Tournament—the culmination of a summer-long adventure that sees their incredible accomplishment performed by astronauts in orbit. Through their wondrous eyes, we see how opportunity and innovation break down walls and inspires them to reach beyond the stars.

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LRM Online’s Gig Patta talked with director Thomas Verrette on following a teacher in his students in Silicon Valley every step of the way—from the conception to the very final championship round in space.

Thomas Verrette is a former Fox and Disney creative and post-production executive. He is most known for producing the 20-episode World Cup docu-series Phenoms for Fox Sports. Also, Verrette edited Goalkeepers episode, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. He executive produced the documentary feature Ordinary Gods, co-produced the short comedy series Small Shots, and edited the sci-fi feature Parallels.

Zero Gravity makes a premiere this week at the Dances with Films Festival in Los Angeles. For the full list of film festivals that it will screen in the future, check out its website.

Watch the full interview with director Thomas Verrette below. Let us know what you think of it.

Source: LRM Online Exclusive

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Gig Patta is a journalist and interviewer for LRM and Latino-Review since 2009. He was a writer for other entertainment sites in the past with Collider and IESB.net. He originally came from the world of print journalism with several years as a reporter with the San Diego Business Journal and California Review. He earned his MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management and BA in Economics from UC San Diego. Follow him on Instagram @gigpatta or Facebook @officialgigpatta.

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