Russia has announced that it will be the first nation to launch an actor and film director into space to shoot a feature film while in orbit. The actor heading into space is Yulia Peresild, and the director is Klim Shipenko. The duo will be accompanied by cosmonaut Anton Ahkaplerov and will constitute the crew of Soyuz MS-19.
Pereslid and Shipenko are making their first trip into space, but Shkaplerov will be on his third trip to the ISS. The actor and director duo will spend 12 days on the ISS before returning to Earth with a different cosmonaut. While aboard the space station, segments for a movie called “Challenge” will be filmed.
The movie is about a surgeon called to the ISS to try and save the life of a crew member with a heart condition. The actor and director said training for the mission was grueling, but both described it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to the ISS and film aboard the space station. Astronaut training was accomplished at Baikonur cosmodrome. While training was described as grueling, the actor and director were successful in completing the required training.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the training, according to Peresild, was trips in the aircraft used to simulate zero gravity. That aircraft goes into a steep dive giving passengers about 20 seconds of zero gravity. The training process for the crewmembers lasted four months.
Director Shipenko talked about being the first filmmaker in space and getting to experiment with lighting, camera settings, and other technical aspects of making a movie while in orbit. Russia sees becoming the first nation to send a film crew to make a movie in orbit as raising the prestige of its space organization. There was a competition between the US and Russia to see which nation would be the first to film a movie on the ISS.