Documentary on Yugoslav space programme at Tribeca festival


Directed by Žiga Virc, this is the first Slovenian film to make it to the world-famous festival of independent film founded by Robert De Niro in 2002.

The documentary investigates the theories alleging that in the early 1960s, the US bought the Yugoslav space programme after falling behind Russia in the race to conquer the moon.

The film will be shown as part of the World Documentary Competition of the festival, competing against ten films. The festival, running between 13 and 24 April, will also feature US and international narrative competitions with a total of 18 films.

Houston, We Have a Problem! is a co-production of Slovenia, Croatia, Germany, the Czech Republic and Qatar and the screening at the festival will be a world premiere.

The film is based on the story of Ivan, a former engineer of the Yugoslav space programme, and on yet unseen documents.

After World War II, the Yugoslav intelligence service allegedly presented to President Josip Broz – Tito (1892-1980) space technology plans by Herman Potočnik Noordung (1892-1929), a Slovenian pioneer in space travel theory.

Tito, trapped between the East and the West in the Cold War, is said to have ordered the launch of an ambitious space programme.

The programme was then sold to the US in March 1961 for a lot of money, with which Yugoslavia funded its development. Two months later, US President John F. Kennedy announced the US would send a man to the moon.

According to public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, Slovenia's co-producer of the film, Houston, We Have a Problem! is a surprising mixture of reality and fiction portraying recent history through conspiracy theories, with philosopher Slavoj Žižek wondering "What is actually the truth?".