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Houston, We Have A Problem

DirectorZiga Virc
ProducerBostjan Virc – Studio Virc (SI); Sinisa Juricic – Nukleus film (HR), Ingmar Trost – Sutor Kolonko (DE), HBO Europe, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, RTV Slovenija
WriterZiga Virc, Bostjan Virc
CastJosip Broz Tito, Slavoj Zizek, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, William Jefferson Clinton
EditorVladimir Gojun
CameraAndrej Virc
Screening3 November | 14:30 hours | Filmhuis Den Haag | + Masterclass
4 November | 17:45 hours | Filmhuis Den Haag
Original TitleHOUSTON, IMAMO PROBLEM!
Year2016
Length88 min
CountrySlovenia/Croatia/Germany/Czech Republic/Qatar
SubtitlesEnglish
SectionNEW VOICES – feature length films

An intriguing and masterfully crafted docu-fiction which explores the myth of the secret multi-billion-dollar deal behind America’s purchase of Yugoslavia’s clandestine space program in the early 1960s. Screenings are followed by Q&A with the scriptwriter and producer Bostjan Virc and a masterclass on November 3.

Synopsis

The cold war, the space race, and NASA’s moon landing are landmark events that defined an era. But they are also fodder for conspiracy theories. Did Yugoslavia have a space programme, sold by Tito to the US in a multi-million-dollar deal? Using a wealth of archive footage and modern-day interviews, the film brings together all the strands of the myth through an eyewitness account from Ivan, a senior space engineer. In between the blurred lines of reality and fiction, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek asks the billion-dollar question: ‘’What is truth?’’. A fascinating debut feature by Ziga Verc which tells a symbolic story of the rise and fall of Yugoslavia, manipulation, dirty political games and media construction. The film received the Vesna Award for Best Feature at the Festival of Slovenian Film, became the Slovenian candidate for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and was the first original HBO production in the Adria region.

Festivals & Awards (selection)

Tribeca Film Festival, New York 2016 – Official selection | Slovenian Film Festival, 2016 – Best Film, Best Editing, Best Actor (Bozidar Smiljanic) | Mediteran Film Festival, BIH 2016 – Audience Award | Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, 2016 – East of the West Competition | Pula Film Festival, Croatia 2016 – Special Jury Mention | Slovenia’s Official Submission for the 2017 Academy Awards – Best Foreign Language Film Race | Palm Springs International Film Festival 2017 – Official selection

Director’s statement

Conspiracy theories are attractive because they make simple sense of a chaotic and highly complex world. Conspiracy theorists are often seen as whistleblowing heroes, saving humanity from deceitful villains, mostly in the form of governmental, religious or military institutions. Real independent media seem to be long gone and for ordinary people it can be difficult to get an accurate representation of a specific person or event. Sometimes we even receive conflicting reports on the same subject. For many reasons, there are very few people willing to question these kinds of reports.
As a filmmaker, I have long been fascinated by the space race between the US and the USSR, the mysteries of Tito’s hidden underground facilities and the related conspiracy theories. That is why I have created this film, which challenges the viewer to take a highly critical view of what they see on the big screen.