Elena Gagarin Introduces Father Yuri Gagarin Documentary at London Gala


LONDON -- British sales and finance banner Intandem and Russia's Kremlin Films joined forces Monday (Nov. 18) with the Russian Embassy to host a special screening of the $10 million budgeted biopic Gagarin: First in Space, the story of the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who became the first human in space.

The screening, hosted by the Russian Ambassador Alexander V Yakovenko and Gagarin's daughter Elena Gagarin, orbited the IMAX cinema at the Science Museum in central London. U.K. Culture minister Maria Miller also landed at the event to support the screening of the film's premiere on British shores.

The film dramatizes the tale of the man selected from over 3,000 fighter pilots across the USSR to take part in his country's space program, that culminated in him blasting off in a Vostok rocket on April 12, 1961.

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The Pavel Parkhomenko-directed film is produced by Oleg Kapanets and Igor Tolstunov and stars Yaroslav Zhalnin, Mikhail Pilippov and Viktor Proskurin.

The movie, timed to coincide with Gagarin's 80th anniversary in 2014, runs at 108 minutes which is the exact amount of time the cosmonaut spent in space orbiting the earth.

Kapanets described Gagarin as one of the "world’s truly global icons".

Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum was on hand to welcome the dignitaries to the impressive museum theater after a reception complete with vodka based cocktails and nibbles topped with caviar.

Elena Gagarin herself introduced the London screening of the film in the museum's IMAX theater. She said the world changed forever after her father made the first manned flight into space.

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Gagarin said she wanted the producers to make a documentary of her dad's life but they had been "very persuasive" in wanting it to be a dramatic film.

The film dramatizes all the "good moments" in the cosmonaut's life -- not to be billed by those present as a warts and all depiction of the USSR's space race ambitions with rivals in America.

The Russian ambassador said that a planned exhibition being mounted at the Science museum in 2014 about the former Soviet states' space program would amount to one of the most important cultural events staged and supported by the U.K. and his country.

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