1946 – Stories To the Moon is an episodic immersive narrative exploring the surprising personal and national beginnings of the American Space program through the eyes of a father and daughter across time. The project began when real life filmmaker Melinda Hess moved to New Mexico, unpacked a box she had left unopened for over twenty-five years discovering a collection of her then 21-year old NYC Jewish Army engineer father’s letters. In the immersive experience characters traverse five “crossing” locations traveling through time and meeting at intersections referenced in his ephemeral letter collection from 1946.
1946 – El Paso Train Station
The powerful sense of presence is immediately evident between father and daughter in the first scene.
Participants enter the immersive 1946 world with the music, the look, the film posters, the cars, the clothes and the palette from that era. In the first scene a piece of paper is falling.
The US Army orders note is picked up by 21-year old army private Hess. He puts it in his pocket, it had fallen out while entering the station.
Upon entering The El Paso train station he sees a woman, she is photographing the station. She stops her shutter and looks up. Sees him. Looks directly at him.
He is looking directly at her. Both feel an eerie sense of familiar.
Both are in the same space – El Paso train station – at the same time – or are they?
At this point both turn to you and gaze.
You gaze at each of them. When you gaze longer on either one you follow their point-of-view on the story.
When you choose daughter Melinda she returns to her photography studio and recognizes an old photo of her father when he was Private Hess.
Melinda looks closer and remembers where she saw this snapshot before.
She finds the suitcase she thought she saw it was in before.
What she found instead would send her on a journey to discover a younger father she never met, until now.