The Dish

Institute History

  • 2001 Sundance Film Festival


The Apollo XI moon landing was a triumph for more than just NASA. This gentle-hearted, entertaining comedy reveals how one small Australian town and its team of oddball technicians played a little-known but intrinsic part. Destined to become the feel-good hit of the Film Festival, The Dish was conceived, written, and produced by the team behind 1998's infectious comedy The Castle and contains all of its predecessor's homespun charm, invention, and humor. Featuring superb storytelling and comedic timing, The Dish is a warm and toasty treat. Utterly devoid of affectation, it manages to capture the innocent awe and excitement that accompanied that momentous occasion.

On July 20, 1969, six hundred million people sat glued to their televisions for man's first steps on the moon. It is an image permanently ingrained in our collective consciousness, but one that almost didn't make it to the airwaves. Based on true-life events, The Dish is a waggish homage to the small-town heroes responsible for a historically almost calamitous blunder. Outside the small, sleepy town of Parkes, a team of laid-back astro-technicians led by project director Cliff Buxton (Sam Neill of The Piano) and NASA agent Al Burnett (Patrick Warburton of Seinfield) ready the Southern Hemisphere's largest satellite dish to transmit the historic broadcast. But amidst a swirling media frenzy and overly effusive civic pride, things start to go awry; the team has lost the signal and must scramble to find the astronauts before NASA discovers their grievous error. And you thought Sydney 2000 was the first time we showed the world!

— Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details

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