The Astronaut Who Lost His Helmet

Memphis, Tennessee | Film Short

Drama, Experimental

Fitzgerald Junior

1 Campaigns | Kentucky, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $12,125 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

62 supporters | followers

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As twelve year old Tay slips between the waking and spirit worlds, his family works to ease his suffering. While his loved ones celebrate his life, we’re reminded of the power of community. Drawing on Southern Black traditions this film carves a path through grief with tenderness, love and hope.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

We are a team of artists who love Black people and tell stories that highlight the beauty of our communities. Despite the tragedy at its center, this film is full of joy. As it uplifts the complexities of death and dying, the story also offers us gentle reminders about our forgotten ways of healing.

The Story

More than anything, TAY wants to fly.

Determined to be the first Black boy on the moon, he zips around his neighborhood with his toy spaceship until tragedy strikes. 

On an abandoned playground, an injured Tay is discovered by ELIZA, a family friend and his older brother WOMACK.  Together they bring the boy home and sit in wake for his life. 

Led by elders MAMA MAGGIE and MISTER JOE, their community gathers as TAY slips between the world of Spirit (where he is truly free for the first time) and the world of Life (where his loved ones are counting on him to survive).  

In this experimental coming of age story, we grapple with the horrors of anti-blackness while relishing in the free Black spaces of imagination, play, spirituality, rest and sanctuary. 


Black folks disproportionately face death and suffering in every sector of American society. 

And yet, still we rise*.

What kind of people survive the Trans Atlantic slave trade and give the world gospel? 

Who can fight off Jim Crow and come out singing jazz? 

Only a people made of stardust can know death as intimately as we do and still face ourselves with endless humor, resolve and genius.  

This film highlights the ways Black folks rise up in moments of despair.  

As we live through pandemic, police brutality, violence and other horrors, it is crucial that each of us is connected to healing modalities and practices that allow us to sit with, process, feel and move through grief and other heavy emotions.  Our collective survival depends on it!

THE ASTRONAUT WHO LOST HIS HELMET reminds us that Southern Black traditions contain everything we need to thrive.  

Our film provides clear tools for ALL people to navigate our current socio-political climate as it points us  back to mutual aid as a radical practice, care as a lifeline and love as our only hope.  

Like most low-budget indie productions, our goal is to stretch every dollar as far as we can...

But we still need the dollars!

We will be rolling into production only weeks after this campaign closes, and we'll need to ensure we can pay our cast and crew, abide by union Covid protocols, and cover creative costs.

We have raised over $3,000 and need a total of $15,000 to make this film a reality.  

We are counting on you - our village - for that extra $12,000.  

So what does that fund?

Yes, you!

Just like Tay and Womack need their community to survive,  we need the abundance of our communities to get us over the line! 

Our team is pouring our hearts and souls into this work and when you join us - you strengthen the life force and impact of this film.  

Check out the incentives on the right and please contribute on the level that brings you the most joy.

Whether you have $15 or all $12,000 we are grateful! 

Everything we make is informed by the brilliance that has come before us.  

This film is in deep conversation with works such as: Christina Sharpe’s "In The Wake", Arthur Jafa's "Love is the Message and the Message is Death", the writings of Dr. Maya Angelou*, AV Rockwell’s "Feathers" and countless works of art that inspire us.

Our cast is all Black and our production crew will be majority Black and based in Memphis, TN and Louisville, KY. The film will be submitted to festivals to include: BlackStar Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and others.

The filmmaking team will also organize exhibitions, screenings and talkbacks with community partners in the US and abroad.  All conversations will include artists, scholars, and culture bearers working in the fields of Black religious study/practice, death, healing and Black cultural customs and traditions.  

These events will increase the accessibility of the work to communities where cinema has historically been made inaccesible. 






We thank you in advance for supporting us in this practice of asking for and receiving help. We are grateful for the ways our art making puts us in an active practice of interdependence and collaboration. 

It is with deep gratitude that we make this request of potential partnership and we believe our work is in service to Black liberation (which leads to the liberation of all people), healing and a more loving and just world.

If you vibe with our message but don't have dollars to spare, we understand. Really!

Please share our labor of love via social media, text or email.

Feel free to copy and paste the following!


Hey! I follow this film project called THE ASTRONAUT WHO LOST HIS HELMET that I think you would find VERY interesting. It is about Black joy, liberation, healing, grief & hope.

Check it out at this link:



Hey everybody! I recently started following this film project about Black joy, liberation, healing, grief & hope. Check it out at this


Help filmmaker Fitzgerald Junior (@theastronautfilm) by supporting his beautiful and necessary story THE ASTRONAUT WHO LOST HIS HELMET, about a young Black boy named Tay. After a mysterious accident, Tay slips between the waking and spirit worlds, and must decide in which he will remain.

Join them at


I'm so excited to see the short film THE ASTRONAUT WHO LOST HIS HELMET, by director/writer Fitzgerald Junior (@theastronautfilm), be made in Memphis TN, Coldwater, MS and Louisville, KY this summer!

Join them at


We thank you in advance for sharing and making this healing work a reality! 


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.


Costs $5,700

This allows us to pay our small team and gives us what we need to rent our equipment.


Costs $2,500

This will compensate our incredible cast made up of seven child actors and eight adults actors.


Costs $1,200

A full crew is a happy crew! This will cover meals and snacks during our long production days.


Costs $600

We want our talent to look their absolute best!


Costs $1,000

This will provide what we need to buy our costumes and other items!


Costs $1,000

This allows us to rent the car that appears in the film and other transportation costs.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Fitzgerald Junior (WRITER, DIRECTOR)

Born on the island of Oahu, Hawai’i, Fitzgerald Junior is an artist whose practice is an exploration of mediums that include film, music, collage and painting.  He grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and was raised in a Black southern matriarchy. His work is anchored by a deep love for Black people and infinite curiosity for all the ways we navigate the personal, communal, and societal aspects of identity in the American South as well as across the diaspora.  

While studying at the University of Colorado, Fitzgerald developed a creative approach centered on experimentation and play. He produces work that combines moving images, photography, sound and type to explore how Blackness expresses itself sonically, texturally, temporally and spatially.  His films include Amir & Kojey, I’m Not Here Anymore, Everything I Whispered to Dorothy, and BlackBoyBlue.

He is a disabled veteran who has served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan.   He is currently based in Louisville, Kentucky.

Kristen Adele Calhoun (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER)

Kristen is currently a Staff Writer for HBO’s adaptation of Toni Morrison’s novel SULA and is also on the writing team for BLKNWS directed by Kahlil Joseph, produced by A24 and Participant. She is the founding Program Director of Arts in a Changing America and co-producer of InterFest, an intersectional arts and ideas festival that began at the Harlem School of the Arts.  She is also an I AM SOUL Playwriting Resident at Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre. 

Her television and film acting credits include House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Elementary, The Sinner, Blue Bloods, The Good Wife, & Everything I Whispered to Dorothy.  

A native of Dallas, Texas, she splits her time between Ghana, Mexico and the US.


Princeton James has forged an undeniable presence as a multi-talented producer, director, writer, and actor. His unique brand of storytelling has captivated audiences with compelling projects that showcase the importance of justice, love, faith, and family.

James wrote his first play, the award-winning The Royal Family in 2016.  His writing credits include Full Course Love, Mother’s Love, The Principal’s List, and A Murder Mystery Dinner Theater. He made his feature film directing debut with Queen Rising and recently worked as an Executive Assistant on NBC’s Young Rock starring Dewayne “The Rock” Johnson.

On the screen, Princeton is a principal cast member alongside Courtney B. Vance and Niecy Nash in the Netflix film Uncorked. He also co-starred in NBC’s Bluff City Law, appeared in the Baz Brother film Making Moves, and regularly appears on BET.

A Native of Coldwater, Mississippi, James resides in Memphis, Tennessee, and is a graduate of the University of Mississippi. He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma and the founder of The Cooler, a program that contributes to building a diverse creative economy. He also created The Kooler Kids which facilitates performing arts training and enrichment development for over 5,000 youth in underserved communities. 


Jordan Danelz has traversed the many storytelling landscapes of filmmaking, lensing several narrative and documentary feature films. With twenty years in the industry, working his way up from AC to Gaffer and now DP, he has a strong grasp on what it takes, across the board, to create the conditions for that magic spark to occur. He is purposefully rooted in Memphis Tennessee with the intention of using his craft to help change the narrative of his hometown.

"There is a wealth of stories to be told right here in Memphis and the surrounding area. There is no better place to invest in this art form than in the here and now."

DEMI GARDNER (Production Designer)

Demi Gardner's passion as a film director has cultivated a plethora of skills that make her a necessary part of any production. Her grit, tenacity and work ethnic are not only her most valuable assets but she also adds incredible creative brilliance to our team.  As a Louisville native, she is on a mission to create transformative art in her hometown and beyond.  



In order to keep our team and beloved communities safe, we will require a negative COVID test for everyone on set and will also follow all state and union COVID protocols. 

Current Team