Houston, We Have a Problem!

Synopsis: The cold war, the space race, and NASA's moon landing are iconic events that defined an era. They are also fodder for conspiracy theories. In Houston, We Have a Problem! filmmaker Ziga Virc explores the myth of a secret multi-billion-dollar deal involving America's purchase of Yugoslavia's space program in the early 1960s. This masterfully crafted feature-length docu-fiction is an intriguing blend of reality and fiction that recreates recent history through the prism of conspiracy theories. It invites the audience to make up its own mind about what is invented and what is real. In between the blurred lines of reality and fiction, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek asks the billion-dollar question: 'What is truth?' Using a wealth of archive footage, the film brings together all the strands of the myth through an eyewitness account from Ivan, a senior space engineer in the controversial Yugoslav space program. After WW2, Yugoslav intelligence reveals the existence of long-lost space tech
Director(s): Ziga Virc
  3 wins & 4 nominations.
88 min

What happened to you?

Some person from USA called me,

claiming to be my father.

Ivan Pavi.

You know what? I've lived my whole

life without a father.

I thought that he died.

I mean ...

I used to visit his grave

with his mother.

I think this is going to be a very

interesting journey. -Very interesting.

Even more so because I

haven't been there for 50 years.

Is Nataa coming to Pag?

-Yes, we'll meet there.

Great. I'm very glad.


Is it arranged? -Yes, it's all arranged.

I became a part of an engineer group,

which worked on development of

module for a multi-person crew.

as a part of Yugoslav Space Program.

I was assigned to a team of officers for

a counterintelligence protection

of this programme.

We had to evict quite a few villages

so that inhabitants wouldn't

work on nearby fields

and tourists wouldn't record

and take pictures.

When we enter, I'll show you,

that the 50 next meters, whole ...

Oh' it's the police. No problem.

We'll talk with them.

Are you ours? -Yes. I was hired to take

them through this underground facility.

I'm familiar with the situation.

-What is this? You are?

He's from USA. -American.

-Yes. -What's with the cameras?

We're filming something. Not right now.

Check this.

-What is the American doing here?

He's a ... -Historian.

What is he saying? -That he's a historian

who is interested in this place as a part

of the story about the

space programme ... -Okay.

We're here. -We had

complete equipment for testing,

but the facility hadn't been ready yet.

-It was still under construction.

After a few months of work

in space programme,

Tito unexpectedly

visited Object 505.

Visits like this were documented by the

counterintelligence for internal use.

Exploration and conquest

of space and other planets

is about the collective effort of

inhabitants of the world

to discover what kind

of neighbours they have.

Tito demanded that

the work be sped up

and our engineers

promised him that.

Our project was supposed to be

better than the soviet Sputnik.

The realized project was called Triglav 1.

Our three-stage rocket incorporated

numerous solutions by Potonik 'Noordung'.

Radar, take over the control.

We're losing visual contact.

Finished rocket flew all

the way to stratosphere.

But we couldn't conceal the

landing of the module.

It landed in international

waters at the Italian border

Our ship encountered

an Italian vessel

which probably recorded the fact

that our ship sailed into Italian waters.

Because of that, the Italians were guessing

what our military ship was doing there.

Piglet survived the launching.

Hello? Nataa.

-iga, what is the number?

Yes, it's me, Ivan.

Everything is alright, we have arrived.

I'm in Croatia.

See you in Pag. Bye!

We'll see ... I think it's somewhere

around here, I don't remember well.

Yes, I think this is the building.

Exactly, it was smaller than others.

After the test launch of three-stage rocket

planning of a larger rocket began.

Money was, however, running out

and development was lagging.

Space programme was

apparently too expensive.

This was a big blow to us,

although we were

in a way prepared for it.

Yugoslavia would have to

take out loans.

The creditors always demand complete

documentation and financial plans.

Telling international creditors that we

were developing a space programme

was unfeasible.

Calculations of our

financial experts showed

that Yugoslavia would be

in danger of bankruptcy.

Major Hafner ordered me

to significantly embellish the report

meant for the Americans.

Although our programme was

going well it wasn't functional.

Is it true reports on Yugoslav space

programme were falsified

and shown in a better light?

Was this your order?

No. Reports on

Yugoslav space programme

were always realistic.

The scientist would perhaps

occasionally exaggerate a bit.

But they were never

intentionally falsified.

Buyer-to-be mustn't

have been deceived.

I was falsifying sketches,

embellishing the results of test launches.

It is possible that certain technical

details were presented in a multisided way.

We reckoned NASA representatives

would be excited to come to Yugoslavia.

And so they came.

NASA delegation was

impressed by our programme.

Tito decided to offer the programme to

the Americans for a certain sum of money.

Americans would, as is the

custom in capitalistic states,

try to lower the price,

but we wouldn't relent.

We demanded 3 billion dollars.

The public didn't know what

Tito received this money for.

This is the Pag island,

I was born here.

I got married here and

now I'm here again.

Tomorrow you'll be seeing your daughter

for the first time since ... -First time.

I have never seen her,

I don't even have her photo.

I don't know how she looks,

but I think we'll sniff each other out.

My daughter. -Good day.

-Martina, pleasure to meet you.

Ivan, are you alright? -Yes.

Matej, will you give him a hand?

-No problem.

This is my daughter Ana,

doctor of science.

Since 1983 she had been working

for Yugoslav Security Service.

Later she worked for Slovenian Security

Service, this occupation runs in the family.

That's right.

Tito was a proper operative.

He could sell something

while keeping it a complete secret.

Everything located at the Institute -

documentation, sketches, equipment,

was to be given to the Americans.

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Bostjan Virc

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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