Operation Avalanche” is a period-thriller about rogue CIA agents infiltrating NASA in an attempt to fake the moon landing two years early. Except to capture NASA in that particular stage of its history, director Matt Johnson and his crew didn’t construct elaborate film sets: They infiltrated the space agency.

Speaking with the Globe and Mail, Johnson reveals that his crew posed as student-documentarians, and asked the kindly NASA science-folk for permission to film the premises. Permission was granted:

“We told them we were students shooting a documentary on how this place was in the sixties. We were friendly. We shot what we needed and left the same way we came in.”

The official art for "Operation Avalanche" 

The thoughtful feature in the Globe and Mail glosses over the artful way in which film editors erased all signs of modern technology in NASA’s office to create a totally believable aesthetic.

From the Mail: “Much about Operation Avalanche astonishes. There is the NASA feat, doubly impressive for how seamlessly the footage has been torqued in postproduction to accord with the period – anachronisms such as cellphones having been scrubbed out by the film’s scrupulous effects team.”

Johnson’s film is set to premier at Sundance in January.

Photos via Zapruder Films, Purple Slog/Flickr Creative Commons