Woman in Motion
directed by Todd Thompson
starring Nichelle Nichols
Sometimes all it takes to change the world is speaking your mind, coolly and calmly. Nichelle Nichols began her career singing for Duke Ellington; she was a sultry dancer with a good voice and promising career in musical theater. That derailed when she moved to L.A. and started working for Gene Rodenberry, who eventually cast her as Star Trek‘s Lt. Uhura. Even though her lines were largely limited to “Hailing frequency are open, captain” she made headlines when she and Shatner kissed on stage. My parent’s heads spun around, but my generation grew up understanding anyone could do anything, regardless of race or sex. Or at least some of us did. When the TV series ended, Nichols eventually found a job promoting nontraditional candidates for the NASA’s new Space Transportation System’s astronaut corp. He efforts pumped up application three-fold in one month.
Mixing archival film and live interviews, we follow Nichols’ inspiring path as she reviews her thoughts and worries as she pursued an important and inspiring dream. Because of her, the astronaut corps look like the American mixing pot, and makes all of space flight a more realistic career to all of us. A roster of Space Gods tells the periphery of her story from George Takei to Neal DeGrasse Tyson to Florida congressman Bill Nelson to Al Sharpton . Both touching inspiring, Nichols is the one woman who made an amazing mark on the face of America and science and her story is utterly delightful to hear. Even the sad parts like the Columbia disaster make you feel better about the world, and she’s not only a woman who changed the world but one who might help save it.
This film was presented as part of the 2019 Florida Film Festival sponsored by the Enzian Theater in Maitland, FL.