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BK Film Director Showcases Astronaut Ronald McNair's Childhood Resiliency

Nile Price, a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and creator of the short film 'For The Moon', found his passion for storytelling when he was often hospitalized as a child.

Nile Price, a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and creator of the short film "For The Moon," found his passion for sharing stories during a rough time in his life. While many children would spend their childhood in schoolyards playing with their friends, Price found himself in and out of hospital rooms as he was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia.  

As a young boy in Virginia, Price would spend much of his time in pediatric wards watching films like "The Incredibles," or "Dark Knight." Price’s original plan was to attend law school, but after taking a photography class in his senior year of high school, he said he got the film bug and let his passion lead him to study mass communications during his undergraduate years at Norfolk State University.

Now, his most recent short film, "For The Moon," is being recognized in Black Public Media's AfroPoP Digital Shorts series. 

The period piece retells the true story of nine-year-old Ronald McNair, a famous African American astronaut who, in 1959, entered an all-white library in South Carolina and refused to leave without his books.  

McNair would go on to receive his Ph.D. in Physics and later become the second African American to ever fly into space working as a mission specialist. He died when the space shuttle Challenger exploded after take off in 1986.

“I remember when I first started writing this some people didn't think it was a real story, mostly because they hadn't heard of Ronald McNair,” Price told BK Reader. “But also like a nine-year-old Black kid in Jim Crow South doing that, ‘No, that doesn't make any sense.’” 

Price began writing and filming "For The Moon" in 2021 — during the height of the pandemic. He found himself garnering his inspiration from his exploration of Crown Heights, where he moved so that he could attend the graduate school at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He recalls consistently stopping by the Ronald McNair Memorial, located in a park by Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue, and wanting to delve deeper into this history. 

He also credits filmmakers like Spike Lee, Kasi Lemons and David Lean for awakening his love for authentic storytelling. 

Filmmaker Nile Price headshot . Provided/Matthew Cylinder

As trends like “#Black at NASA” occur on social media, where Black employees at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration post their headshots, Price explained he is simply honored and humbled to see the acknowledgement of Black individuals in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. He hopes his film will encourage younger generations to consider these career paths. 

Price's film took home the 2023 Carl Lerner Award for a Film with Social Significance at the NYU First Run Festival and won the 2023 Virginia Film Festival Narrative Short Programmer’s Award.  

As his film garner success, Price hopes "For The Moon" and all of his other films help humanity explore themselves to just be better, he explained. 

The film can be viewed as part of the monthly AfroPoP Digital Shorts series on Black Public Media’s YouTube channel here

Brianna Robles

About the Author: Brianna Robles

Brianna Robles is a Brooklyn, NY based freelance writer and journalist specializing in sharing stories about mental health and spectacular women.
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