Leonid Yakubovich, people’s artist of the Russian Federation, TV host and producer, screenwriter, TEFI award winner, shares his dreams and his experience with trying to live like a cosmonaut, exclusively for the SPACE.STARS.OPINIONS festival section.

Did you dream of becoming a cosmonaut in your childhood?

No, I didn’t. Yuri Gagarin went to space when I was in the 8th grade. The whole country was jubilant; it was such a big event! Space used to be supernatural, unreachable. And when I got to the aerodrome for the first time, I became obsessed with aeronautics. By the way, I actually tried a part of a cosmonaut’s [flight preparation] routine: I put on a spacesuit, dove in the swimming pool, got spun on a centrifuge, and even had a taste of zero-gravity. I experienced what cosmonauts were going through. This is hard work, and not everyone can bear it. I think, when you go on a space flight, no one can guarantee that you’ll come back…

How would you judge Tsiolkovsky’s role in the history of space?

How can one judge a person who saw the future? Once upon a time there was a man, a weird one, not from this world, who lived in Kaluga, he helped us peek into the unknown.

Would you like to play a part in a film about space?

I’ll put it this way: I would like to get a role in a film or in a stage play.

The Tsiolkovsky International Space Film Festival will be held in Kaluga on April 12-16, with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Presidential Fund for Cultural Initiatives, the Roscosmos State Corporation, the Kaluga Region Government and the Ministry of Culture, Rossotrudnichestvo, the K.E. Tsiolkovsky State Museum of the History of Cosmonautics, the Association of Planetariums of Russia and other public and commercial organizations.