“When you are born out of your mother, that’s when love begins to appear.
Up until that point, you are simply dependent on your mother and have no knowledge of your mother, but once you come outside, now you see your mother for who she is.” Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart in Cosmic Birth

Cosmic birth is a 2019 documentary film about human exploration and mankind’s journey to the Moon with beautiful footage and personal talks with inspiring people from all around the world. The film also tells about Iceland’s role in the training of the Apollo astronauts for the big journey. The film is written and co-directed by Orly Orlyson & rafnar.
Scene from the film : “You had the best view in the world, from this small window”


We went to the Moon, but discovered the Earth

The Apollo astronauts were sent to the north of Iceland in 1965 and 1967 for geology field training, to better prepare them for their work on the surface of the Moon. Through his work at the Exploration Museum, Orly has become friends with many of the Apollo moonwalkers and their families, as well as many of the people who worked behind the scenes to make this ancient dream of going to the moon a reality in 1969. He tells the story from a human prospective, focusing less on the technical achievement and more on the human achievement of going to the moon. Orly has teamed up with Icelandic musician and filmmaker rafnar to tell this story. The film tells of how the trips to the moon changed those 12 men who went there, and even more importantly how these men took an entire species to another world, changing our whole understanding of our place in the universe.

The story is told through interviews with 5 of the Apollo astronauts, Walt Cunningham, Bill Anders, Rusty, Charlie Duke, and Harrison Schmitt, as well as Mark Armstrong, son of Neil Armstrong, and Richard Garriott, son of Owen Garriott.

The story is also told through visuals and an original music score composed for the film by Framfari & Ósi á Borg. The Art director of the film is Dušana Pavlovičová.

Orly, rafnar & Framfari


“The film is more than a history lesson and a walk down memory lane; it’s a creative and powerful reminder that we are Earthlings on a fragile planet orbiting in a vast and amazing universe. Cosmic Birth serves as a love letter to both the moon and the Earth. “
– Chelsea Gohd (Space.com)

“The documentary is a charmingly eccentric work. Animation is interwoven with poetry and an original soundtrack; in one scene memorably depicted by a fully suited astronaut playing the squeezebox. Ultimately, however, it’s the film’s ecological message that shines through.”
– Felix Robertson (Reykjavík Grapevine)

“I like documentaries with a sense of personality – not just the same old dry retelling of moon voyages. This is some of the best warm-hearted humanising of the space program I have seen. With beautiful camera work both on Earth and in space, we hear from space explorers who reflect on their experiences. There is a poetry and profundity to their reminiscences that shows that sometimes the artists and the explorers are one and the same. With insights into gender and ethnic diversity in current exploration, this documentary is a love letter to future intrepid travellers, and a reminder that curiosity is vital to the human spirit.”
– Francis French (Author; “Into That Silent Sea” and “Falling to Earth“)

“Once-in-a-lifetime night. Örlygur Hnefill Örlygsson came to NYC to screen his new film, Cosmic Birth, at the Explorers Club. He grew up near where the Apollo astronauts did their geology training in Iceland, and the film is, really, a love letter to them. Interviews with Rusty Schweickart, Charlie Duke, Harrison Schmitt; beautiful landscapes, so much more. I’m still flying.”
– Susan Roy (Author; “Bomboozled“)

“In a very real sense, it was as if the astronauts and millions who would see the photographs were seeing the earth for the first time. In the documentary, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart describes that moment as a form of “cosmic birth,” the moment of separation when we can see our mother Earth for who she truly is.”
– Rick Spilman (The Old Salt Blog)

Artwork by Paul Calle from the year 1969

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Screenings 2020

Januar 2020
Institute for X, Aarhus Denmark

May 2020
London, UK

June 2020
Boulder, USA

June 2020
Denver, USA

November 2020
Lisboa, Portugal

November 2020
Celebrity Infinity

November 2020
Florida, USA
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c o n t a c t & i n f o r m a t i o n

Orly Orlysson
hnefill@lunar.is
+354 863 6990

Orly is co-writer of Cosmic Birth & founder of The Exploration Museum