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Žiga Virc’s Houston, We Have a Problem! (Houston, imamo problem!), a docu-fiction about the myth behind a supposed multi-billion-dollar deal involving America’s purchase of Yugoslavia’s space program in the early 1960s, is Slovenia‘s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 89th Academy Awards.

The film, the debut feature from Žiga Virc had its world premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, and went on to win the Vesna Award for Best Picture at the 19th Slovenian Film Festival.

Cold War-era international intrigue, declassified top-secret documents, and a clandestine deal between John F. Kennedy and Yugoslavia’s president Josip Tito are just the tip of the iceberg in this absorbing directorial debut from filmmaker Žiga Virc. Blurring the lines between fact and fiction, Houston, We Have a Problem! explores the myth behind the origins of America’s race to be the first country to send a man to the moon, and a supposed multi-billion-dollar deal involving America’s purchase of Yugoslavia’s space program in the early 1960s.

Deftly combining archival footage with modern-day interviews with philosopher Slavoj Žižek and some of the key figures in the film’s investigation—including a former Yugoslavian space engineer, an American historian, and a retired Yugoslav People’s Army general—Houston, We Have a Problem! is a fascinating meta-examination of Cold War foreign diplomacy and myth-building, and the lies, manipulation, and dirty games that go into the construction of a national identity. [Tribeca Film Festival 2016]

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