Documentary 'Last Man on the Moon' premieres at SXSW

AUSTIN, TX (KTRK) -- He was the last man to ever leave footprints on the moon, and this week Captain Gene Cernan premieres a new documentary about this personal journey at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin.

"The movie is about my life," said Capt. Cernan. "Fate. Fate. F-A-T-E played such a major role in my life."

The feature documentary appropriately named "The Last Man on the Moon" was partially filmed in Houston, where Cernan lives. The space adventure begins with Cernan revealing how he was selected to become a candidate for the space program in Houston. Cernan was a US Navy fighter pilot. He said he received a phone call to come to Houston for a secret interview. He was shocked that he was selected.

"Well we had our ticker-tape parade but we paid a price because we lost a lot of friends," said Cernan.

Cernan was not first in line to take missions to the moon, but after the tragic deaths of several of his astronaut colleagues, he was moved up the ranks. Cernan was selected to command two missions, the first with Apollo 10. He was the first to ever Orbit the moon and back. Cernan made his lunar landing on Apollo 17. His mission lasted three days in which he said he felt like he was sitting on God's front porch.

"When you look at this movie, I think people will understand the significance of American exceptionalism," said Cernan.

Cernan revealed his triumph came at a price. He opened up about his divorce, and his daughter, and a deeper pain he felt when the shuttle program was scrapped.

"Nostalgic and disappointed," said Cernan. "The launch site is deteriorating. There is hardly anything left."

Yet Cernan said he's hopeful this new feature documentary will spark something: pride, hope, motivation or just inspiration.

"The bottom line is is the last thing I said in the movie to those kids out there now and hopefully 25 years in the future," said Cernan. "If I can go to the moon, what can't you do?"

The final screening of "The Last Man on the Moon" will take place in Austin on Wednesday. The filmmakers said they are hoping the screening will help land a distribution deal so that the masses can see this important film.
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