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‘Guion’ Film Highlights Penn Stater Who Was First African-American in Space

by on February 04, 2018 5:00 AM

As the first African-American to travel into space, Penn State alumnus Guion “Guy” Bluford is a pioneer and holds a significant place in the history of space exploration, but his story is relatively unknown to the public.

The filmmakers behind a a new short film hope to change that and put Bluford in the spotlight.

In an interview with io9, director Sagi Kahane-Rapport describes Guion as a “highly character-driven piece,” aiming to capture Bluford’s story in a span of 15 minutes. Viewers have no need to worry about authenticity — Bluford shared a 91-page unpublished memoir with the production team, and he is working with the Ryerson University-based filmmakers to tell his story.

Kahane-Rapport said the film will be a tale of Bluford's “grit,” as "a humble man who achieved greatness" and offers a glance into the struggle of balancing private life with the fame of space exploration. It will be set in both the 1960s and 1980s. Guion, which is a crowd-funded project, is still in the nascent stages of production, but you can watch a trailer here.

Bluford was born on Nov. 22, 1942 in West Philadelphia, and enrolled at Penn State upon his graduation from Overbrook High School. A highly accomplished student, Bluford left Happy Valley with an aerospace engineering degree in 1964. The pursuit of a master’s degree led him to the Air Force Institute of Technology, where he eventually earned a Ph.D., as well.

He was a part of four space shuttle flights between 1983 and 1992.

In addition to his career as an engineer and astronaut, Bluford is a decorated veteran, having piloted 144 combat missions during the Vietnam War and reaching the rank of colonel. 

He has been recognized as a distinguished alumnus of Penn State, and he served as Grand Marshal for the university’s 2006 Homecoming celebration. 

Read io9's full interview with Kahane-Rapport here.


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