Alumnus Comes to GVSU to Premiere Documentary “I want to be an Astronaut”

Grand Valley State University Alumnus David Ruck’s (Film & Video Production 1999) film, “I want to be an Astronaut”, will premiere in West Michigan during homecoming week on October 10th from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the L. William Seidman Center. After receiving his Master of Science in Communication in 2007 from GVSU, Ruck moved to Washington, DC to pursue a Master of Fine Arts from American University. In 2014 Ruck was recognized by the American University and Sony for his filmmaking skills, which led to him receiving the prestigious American Visions Award for Outstanding Thesis.

These accomplishments steered Ruck towards his filmmaking career and to creating the film “I want to be an Astronaut”. The film tells the story of Blair Mason, someone who has dreamed of going into space since he was three years old. At 17, he is working on how to make his dream a reality. The film provides a look into the current NASA efforts as well as insights from astronauts and NASA workers. Ruck explained that he has had a passion for film making for a long time before attending Grand Valley. However, the people Ruck met at Grand Valley continued to encourage him.

“My inspiration to go into film probably began sometime in middle school,” Ruck said. “What I saw at Grand Valley was the possibility of making that desire grow into reality. When I met my classmate Keith Banger back in the day, we both had similar, lofty goals for the kinds of stories we wanted to tell. We worked together on a lot of projects and pushed the envelope of what was being done for “class projects”. We were encouraged to keep doing it. We thought everything was possible and I began to understand the importance of letting other people be a part of your vision.”

Ruck then provided some advice for students who are interested in going into documentary filmmaking.

“Documentary filmmaking is a transformative experience. It takes guts and a willingness to be uncomfortable,” said Ruck. “Dive into something that interests you and that you aren’t yet convinced of. Allow the unfolding of circumstances to reshape your perspective. If you do this you’ll either be convinced of what you already thought, or if you’re lucky, you’ll see the world in an entirely new way.”

Ruck’s final words of advice tied together a comparison between Rucks hobby of skydiving.

“Documentary is a lot like skydiving. You can stand at the exit and look down all day, wondering what the outcome will be,” said Ruck. “But the magic happens when you jump. It’s not easy business and it’s uncomfortable when it happens. So what’s my advice? Jump. Don’t ride down with the plane. That’s for sissies.”

It is free to attend the premiere, but registration is required. More information and event registration is available at

 David Ruck Promo Flyer