by Hank Leukart
January 19, 2017

Mars Academy, a first look

Filming a feature-length documentary in Brazil’s City of God.

Mars Academy Trailer

C

ITY OF GOD, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — In 2015, I traveled to Brazil’s City of God in Rio de Janeiro for two weeks with four scientists who work with NASA to direct a documentary film. Our goal was to bring NASA science — through hands-on experiments and field trips to Brazil’s islands and rainforests — to a group of kids who would otherwise never be exposed to it. The scientists surprised the kids with an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experiment: the chance to do their own exploring on Mars using an actual NASA spacecraft.

This was a meaningful travel experience for a lot of reasons, but the most rewarding part for me was getting to spend time and have conversations with the kids and their families. The trip was a perfect example of the power of a slow, authentic travel experience.

I’ve nearly completed a feature-length film about the project, and I’ll write more about my experience in Brazil here when the film is ready. For now, you can watch the film’s double-length trailer that I made above. I hope you enjoy it! WB

The kids and scientists explore the ocean on a boat docked at IIlha de Jaguanum, of the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The kids and scientists explore the ocean on a boat docked at IIlha de Jaguanum, of the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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