Russian has released a trailer for the first ever feature film to be shot in space.
“The Challenge” was shot aboard the International Space Station (ISS) over the course of 12 days in 2021. It is about a female cardiac surgeon called Zhenya (played by Russian actress Yulia Peresild) who is part of a team of doctors sent to operate on a cosmonaut (played by cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy) who loses consciousness while on the orbital station.
The film is a joint project of Roscosmos, Russia’s Channel One and the Yellow, Black and White studio. Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov also have parts in the movie.
Overall, about 35-40 minutes of the film’s screen time were to be filmed in orbit.
“The Challenge” will be released on April 12.
“The movie is aimed to popularise Russia’s space activities, as well as glorify (the) cosmonaut profession,” according to Russian space agency Roscomos.
At the time of filming, NASA stated that it “marks the expansion of commercial space opportunities to include feature filmmaking”.
Roscosmos first announced the film project in November 2020 and Peresild, 37, was chosen for the role.
Peresild and producer-director Klim Shipenko travelled to the ISS alongside veteran Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov in October 2021 and filmed the movie over the course of 12 days.
Although “The Challenge” is the first feature-length film to be shot in space, it’s not the first project to be filmed aboard the ISS.
Earlier, Soviet-era cosmonauts filmed aboard Soyuz T-9 and inside the Salyut 7 space station for the Russian 1984 narrative film “Return from Orbit.”
Twenty-four years later, privately-funded astronaut Richard Garriott shot “Apogee of Fear,” a short science fiction film set aboard ISS.
The list also includes a 2002 IMAX documentary narrated by Tom Cruise and a 2012 eight-minute science fiction film by entrepreneur and space tourist Richard Garriott.
In 2020, Cruise, along with director Doug Liman, had revealed plans to travel to the ISS to shoot a feature film in collaboration with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and NASA.