Star Stuff is a lovely short film inspired by Carl Sagan, and written and directed by Ratimir Rakuljic, that will tug at your heartstrings.
The opening scene is an aerial view of an elementary school-age Sagan, played by actor Domagoj Culina, surrounding himself with numbered cards as he quotes his father:
My father told me about big numbers with wicked sounding names, followed by more zeros than anyone could ever write. He said how, “There’s no biggest number. You can always add 1.” Suddenly everything feels a lot bigger — except for me.
The film is narrated by the inquisitive mind of young Carl, seeking answers to his questions about the universe in all the wrong places, until his mom takes him to the library to borrow a book on stars. As he continues on his journey of wonder and knowledge, the actors playing and narrating Carl graduate in age until we come to a sky swirling with cosmic animation and the words we all know and love from the original Cosmos PBS series,
… We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.
Rakuljic had this to say about what led him to make this film:
Star Stuff is very much a work of passion. The story is based on a selection of anecdotes from Carl Sagan’s life, which are found throughout his works. The Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive was also an invaluable resource which helped in further fleshing out the story. The archive also assisted my production team in creating the look of the film, as some props and set dressing were based of the scans from the collection.
If you have kids, this is a great intro to Carl Sagan to inspire their budding curiosity.