Film director tells story of first female astronaut

By Cristina Olaru

The inspiring story of the first woman astronaut will be the focus of a documentary film screening and Question and Answer session with its director in Leicester next week.

Ulrike Kubatta will be giving an insight into her film She Should Have Gone to the Moon which will be screened at the Phoenix Cinema on Thursday(NOV15) at 6.30pm.

The documentary tells the story of US pilot Jerri Truhill who was trained in 1961 to become one of the first female astronauts as part of NASA’s top secret Mercury 13 programme.

Ulrike Kubatta

Director: Ulrike Kubatta

“She was someone who wouldn’t do what other women did,” explained Miss Kubatta, who is a senior lecturer in film and media studies at De Montfort University.

“There is so much out there on men exploring space, and therefore, Jerri’s story is a lot more unusual.”

Miss Kubatta met Jerri in person and admitted she ‘deliberately’ did the film because of her admiration for the NASA pioneer. The project was born from her own passion for what Jerri Truhill achieved.

“She was my heroine. When I met her, she lived up to everything I expected,” added Miss Kubatta.

The film is quite intimate and she thinks that this personal approach will resonate with people because it contains a kind of passion and interest that makes the documentary more accessible to the audience.

Jerry Truhill

Pioneer: Jerry Truhill

“I thought it will become a story less specific to the space programme and be more about a woman who goes all beyond what’s available to her.

“That woman knew what she wanted and knew how to fight for it,” said Miss Kubatta.

One of the aspects of the documentary presents the equality battle between women and men, and Miss Kubatta pointed out that Jerri used to do what most women did in the US in the 60s, being a housewife and having afternoon teas before, at one point, saying: ‘I did that but now is my time.’

Continuing on the theme of equality nowadays, Miss Kubatta said: “We need to co-exist, both sides to be committed to change.

“Students are very switched on, this generation is more engaged in participating in change.”

From her own experience, the film director encouraged all students to take risks: “Do not stay in your comfort zone, I’d rather live wide than longer.”

The screening of She Should Have Gone to the Moon will be followed by a Question and Answer session with Miss Kubatta and special guests, including Dr Suzanne Imber, Associate Professor in Space Physics at the University of Leicester, who was the winner of the 2017 BBC Two programme “Astronauts, Do You Have What It Takes”.

Watch a trailer of the documentary.

The event is presented in association with the DocHub@DMU, a new initiative for the production and study of documentary film at the Leicester Media School (De Montfort University). All tickets cost £5 and can be booked from

Food bank volunteers wanted in Beaumont Leys

By Pythias Makonese

A plea for more volunteer helpers has been made by a food bank in Leicester which has seen the demand for its services nearly triple in a year.


Fully stocked: the Food Hub in Beaumont Leys

The Food Hub based at the E2 Training Centre in Beaumont Leys is trying to recruit more volunteers to help out every Thursday and Friday.

It runs every Friday between 11 am and 2 pm for people in need of its support but help is still required on Thursdays to organise and prepare food for distribution.

Originally it was aimed at helping around 16 people a week but numbers continue to rise and have increased to around 44 people as word of mouth grew and the implementation of Universal Credit has been rolled out.

Martin Buchanan, the Chief Executive Officer, explained: “Whatever Government is in power I expect food hubs to be here to stay for some time.

“Even if the Government’s priorities were to change overnight, I still think it would take years for positive changes to work its way through the system.”

The food bank has been running for almost a year and Mr Buchanan said E2 is having to increase the amount of food needed to help residents in the Beaumont Leys area.

E2 relies on the support of large food suppliers such as Fareshare East Midlands, Tesco, Lidl and the Co-op to help with the current demand.

It distributes half a ton of food every week and organisers don’t believe this is likely to decrease any time soon.

Those who would like to know more about volunteering are urged to email Mr Buchanan on or phone 0116 235 9481.