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Russia holds premiere of first-ever movie filmed in space

Preparations for the shooting began in 2020, when Channel One announced a competition to star in the first ever feature film to be shot in outer space

MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. Klim Shipenko’s movie The Challenge, the first-ever feature film shot in outer space aboard the International Space Station (ISS), premiered at Moscow’s Oktyabr movie theater on Cosmonautics Day, a TASS correspondent reported.

The city’s biggest movie theater was turned into the ISS for the premiere night as its walls were decorated with holographic panels and space station portholes. The descent vehicle of the Soyuz-18 spacecraft, which had brought film director Klim Shipenko, actress Yulia Peresild and cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky back to Earth, was installed at the entrance to the movie theater. According to the organizers, about 3,000 people attended the premiere, including Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova and Channel One Director General Konstantin Ernst.

The motion picture tells the story of a female surgeon who agrees to go on a mission to the ISS and perform surgery in weightlessness to save a cosmonaut’s life.

Preparations for the shooting began in 2020, when Channel One announced a competition to star in the first ever feature film to be shot in outer space. On October 5, 2021, actress Yulia Peresild and film director Klim Shipenko launched to the International Space Station together with cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov. The cosmonauts who worked aboard the orbital outpost at that time also took part in the film’s shooting. Before the flight, Peresild and Shipenko had undergone training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. The film crew returned to Earth on October 17, 2021.

Shipenko told reporters that shooting in space was the most difficult part. "No one had shot feature films in outer space before so we had no one to ask questions and hold consultations with. This is why we had to play it by ear and improvise. Our film crew was very small, there were only five people, including actors," the director explained. "So that was one big challenge," Shipenko said, jokingly adding that he was now ready to fly to the Moon and Mars together with Peresild.

Meanwhile, Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova announced that the movie would be screened at cinemas in 20 countries. "People in 20 countries will have a chance to watch our unique movie The Challenge at cinemas," she wrote on Telegram. "The residents of our country, including its new regions, as well as of Serbia (including Kosovo), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia will be able to see the product of the film crew’s creative feat on the big screen as early as on April 20," she noted.

Besides, on April 27, the movie will hit theaters in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Sudan.