Aelita (1924) by Yakov Protazanov, adapted from Aleksey Tolstoy's novel, is one of the earliest science fiction films. Created in turbulent years following October Revolution and Russian Civil War, this film is a satirical take on young Soviet society, its aspirations and disappointments, as well as an interesting story about the revolutionary attempt on Mars. How was Aelita made? What was the position of science fiction in the young "Land of Soviets"? And how did Aelita anticipate Soviet "Years of Lead" that were soon to follow? You will find out more about this and further development of science fiction cinema in USSR and Eastern Bloc in a lesson given by Aleksandar Žiljak.
Aleksandar Žiljak (b. 1963) is one of the most prominent, successful and prolific writers, illustrators, translators, editors, historians and promoters of SF and fantasy in Croatia. He published several short story collections (Slijepe ptice, 2003; Božja vučica, 2010; Knjiga beštija, 2013; Tajna grimiznog mora, 2014), four novels (Irbis, 2012; Poseidonia, 2014; Zagonetka Zmajskih otoka, 2015; Ndanabova djeca, 2018) and one book on cryptozoology from the realm of popular science (Kriptozoologija – svijet zagonetnih životinja, 2004). He also wrote two screenplays, one in collaboration with Dušan Vukotić, while his collection of film essays is about to be published soon. His stories and novels have been published in Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, Argentina, Greece, Serbia, PR of China, Poland, Spain, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as in the USA, where his story was also included in the world SF anthology The Apex Book of World SF. With Tomislav Šakić, Žiljak edited milestone anthology of Croatian SF short story Ad Astra (2006) and continues to be editor of literary magazine UBIQ that was in 2011 declared the best European SF magazine. Žiljak won Croatian national SF prize SFERA nine times and is also known for his many translations, among which those of essays and books by Darko Suvin and Thomas Disch are of particular importance.