Kent Levy Court pledges $25,000 to help fund ILC Dover documentary

DOVER — If local filmmaker TJ Healy has his way, Netflix viewers might one day scroll past an ILC Dover documentary that catalogs the local latex firm’s contribution to the Apollo 11 moon landing.

As of Tuesday night, the project will partially be brought to you by the taxpayers of Kent County.

Kent County Levy Court commissioners voted unanimously at their Tuesday business meeting to contribute $25,000 to the project in two stages.

The initial disbursement of $10,000 will go toward the creation of a “Documentary Project Pitch Piece Short Film.” A second disbursement of $15,000 will be released upon the successful completion and public viewing of the pitch piece.

On hand to champion the project, former ILC Dover president Homer Reihm, a retired configuration manager who worked on the project and Mr. Healy touted the project’s importance.

At the meeting, Mr. Healy told commissioners that the pitch piece was being filmed to coincide with the famous “Giant leap for mankind” moon walk’s 50th anniversary on July 11. The documentary would chronicle the history and development of the Apollo moon suits invented and produced in Kent County by ILC Dover.

The 20-30 minute film will then be used to help raise further funds and showcase the project in the hopes of eventually producing a full-length documentary expected to cost around $600,000.

Mr. Healy noted that the immediate goal would be to preserve the stories of employees and innovators that were working on the important product for posterity and the state’s archives, but he also believes the finished product would have marketability with outlets like The Smithsonian or The Discovery Channel. He believes streaming services like Netflix and Hulu may be interested in it upon completion.

Levy Court commissioners expressed their support for the project, noting that they believed it had both historical value and may be helpful in drawing attention to the county’s industries. According to Kent County Administrator Michael Petit de Mange, the money will come from the county’s FY2019 General Fund Contingency.

Mr. Healy noted that the city of Dover has also signaled its intention to assist with the project through event assistance and in kind donations.

The organizers noted that the project was being pursued independently of the ILC Dover’s commercial operation headquartered in Frederica, but with their permission. However, ILC Dover itself has not pledged any financial support for the project yet, but the organizers say they “might.”

Residents interested in pledging funds to the project or have a personal history of their own connected to ILC Dover’s moon suit project, can reach Mr. Healy at healytj@verizon.net.

Staff writer Ian Gronau can be reached at 741-8272 or igronau@newszap.com

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