The director Klim Shipenko, who just distinguished himself by shooting the first authentic images of a movie onboard the ISS, recently said he was ready to take the next step: shooting a movie directly on the Moon, and why not on Mars?
A few days ago, the first professional film crew to fly in space, composed of Russian actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko, returned to Earth after twelve days onboard the International Space Station. The filmed footage is to integrate a film called “Вызов” (“The Challenge” in English) in which a surgeon will be sent to the station to perform emergency surgery on a cosmonaut.
For the 38-year-old director, whose previous credits include the 2017 feature film “Salyut 7,” loosely based on the actual 1985 mission to the last of the Soviet Union’s Salyut-class space stations, the experience would have taught him to make movies differently. “Some scenes that I imagined in a sense on Earth unfolded in a completely different way in several shots. It was a real cinematic discovery,” he said.
According to the director, work on “The Challenge” will continue until the end of next year. The scenes shot on the ISS should normally represent between 25 and 35 minutes of the final cut. He also hopes that the distribution of his film will be worldwide.
Next step: the Moon, then Mars?
Interviewed by Reuters, Shipenko also said he was ready to make a film on the Moon or Mars. “We are ready,” he said at a press conference. “We think that space cinema should be shot in space. If it’s the Moon, let’s go to the Moon. If it’s Mars, let’s go to Mars. After all, why not? Why should space cinema be shot in a studio?
Of course, shooting a film on the Moon or Mars will be much more complicated. But the lunar project could be the most accessible. A few months ago, the heads of the Chinese and Russian space agencies signed an agreement to build a research station on our satellite. China hopes to use its super-heavy launcher Long March 9 to send the first humans there as early as 2030.
Designed to conduct multidisciplinary and multipurpose research related to the exploration and exploitation of the Moon, this complex could host a film crew. On the other hand, it isn’t easy to imagine simple civilians going to the Moon without real professional astronaut training.
For the moment, the Martian project seems inaccessible. On the Russian side, it is not yet officially in the papers. However, we know China aims to send its first crewed mission to the Red Planet in 2033. Regular follow-up flights will aim at building a permanently inhabited base. We could then imagine a new agreement between China and Russia on this project too. However, for now, this is only speculation.