Glenn Andreiev's film, "Long Island Joins the Space Race," will...

Glenn Andreiev's film, "Long Island Joins the Space Race," will be screened at Huntington's Cinema Arts Centre.  Credit: Glenn Andreiev

Among the many documentaries about the Apollo 11 space mission — from 1971’s “Moonwalk One” to 2019’s “Apollo 11” — there have been few, if any, dedicated to the Lunar Excursion Module that ferried Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin from the rocket to the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969.

Filmmaker Glenn Andreiev, of Kings Park, plans to fill that void with his latest film, “Long Island Joins the Space Race.”

Premiering Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Huntington’s Cinema Arts Centre, Andreiev’s documentary chronicles the development of the module — famously named Eagle — at the Grumman plant in Bethpage during the 1960s. Using archival footage and original interviews with local Apollo engineers, “Long Island Joins the Space Race” pays tribute to the people who helped create a crucial component of the Apollo 11 mission. The film’s score comes from a local music group, conveniently named Moontide.

Andreiev, 62, says he has a personal connection to the module: His father, Alexis, worked on it. Born in Estonia, Alexis emigrated to America around 1935, served in the Army's radio corps during World War II and then obtained his engineering degree, according to Andreiev. In the early 1960s, Alexis went to work for the Grumman plant in Bethpage. His job: “He was part of the crew that designed and configured the legs of the Lunar Module.”

That led to a four-year stint in Cocoa Beach, Florida, after Alexis was transferred there by Grumman in 1966. Andreiev, then in grade school, recalls a sense of culture shock: “Since this was probably the biggest thing to hit Cocoa Beach, all I remember is that everything was space-themed,” he says. “The Satellite Motel, the Starblast Restaurant, the Galaxy Movie Theater.”

He also recalls watching with his family as Apollo 11 took off. “They all knew this was a historic moment,” he says.

It wasn’t until well into his career as a film lecturer and filmmaker that Andreiev began working on his documentary about Eagle. He credits an acquaintance at the East Meadow Public Library for suggesting it after she learned of his father’s work; he also credits Grumman and the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Uniondale for sharing their knowledge of the moon mission.

One figure missing from the film: Alexis Andreiev. “He passed away in 2006,” the filmmaker says. “He would have been a wealth of information.”

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