In the weeks leading up to the global premiere of National Geographic’s six-part series “MARS” on Monday, Nov. 14, 21st Century Fox and National Geographic took 200 high-school students attending The Cinema School (TCS) in Bronx, N.Y., on a field trip to an immersive Mars experience featuring a virtual reality simulator and an anti-gravity treadmill this week. The students of The Cinema School, the nation’s first film high school founded in 2009 by 21CF-supported Ghetto Film School (GFS) in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, also got a chance to hear about what it will take for humans to live on Mars.
21CF also funded the creation of a curriculum guide and educational resources made available for free to teachers, allowing them to bring the science and problem-solving for a manned mission to Mars into the classroom.
“We’ve always been blown away by the potential, storytelling and creativity of young people like you here at The Cinema School and Ghetto Film School,” Vijay Sudan, Executive Director of Social Impact at 21CF told the students. “If we’re going to get to Mars in our lifetimes, it’s going to take great storytellers like you to inspire us. You have an important role to play.”
The students, who enjoyed a classroom screening of the first part of “MARS” beforehand, were given a 30-minute Q&A session with Stephen Petranek, author, “How We’ll Live on Mars,” which inspired the new National Geographic series; and Clémentine Poidatz, who plays Amelie Durand in “MARS.” During the Q&A, students heard about the filming of the series from Clémentine and the feasibility of humans settling on Mars from Stephen.
Afterward, the group was taken to the immersive “Experience MARS” installation in lower Manhattan, where they boarded a CableRobot VR simulator to experience what a Mars landing would be like, got on an anti-gravity treadmill to simulate a walk on Mars with 38 percent gravity and test their astronaut aptitude by completing a mission control rocket landing and surface rover digital experiences.
“Experience MARS,” located at Varick Street and Canal Street in New York, is open to the public for free through Saturday, Oct. 29, from noon to 7 p.m.
TCS is a select admissions South Bronx public high school with a four-year compulsory film program.
Founding partner GFS was started in the South Bronx in 2000 to give young, aspiring filmmakers in historically underserved communities an immersive education and hands-on industry experience. A longtime partner of the nonprofit, 21CF has provided GFS students with unprecedented access to filmmakers, executives and talent across its film and television companies to prepare them for the craft and business of storytelling. 21CF is founding sponsor of GFS Los Angeles, which opened its doors in June 2014, and is funding all of GFS’ core costs in New York and Los Angeles for the next three years.