Made in Hungary – Mars (2016)
The second season of the series Mars (2016) was made almost entirely in Hungary, so it is not that surprising, that many Hungarian experts worked on it. That includes actors from Hungary, and a Hungarian in one of the most important positions in the series, Attila Szalay, who was the lead cinematographer of all the episodes.
The series is one of National Geographic’s most expensive projects, blending the genre of fictional dramas with the scientific-educational style already familiar from the channel. The main plot plays in 2033, about the Daedalus spacecraft expedition, but the scenes are interrupted from time to time by interviews with real NASA experts and space scientists about the difficulties people have to face on Mars based on today’s development. In the episodes, we see how an imaginary mission works, while at the same time, we get a picture of how far humanity is now from conquering the neighboring planet.
NatGeo built the entire Mars base and the Daedalus spacecraft at Origo Film Studios, but recordings were made at the Planetarium, The Whale, and at St. Stephen University of Gödöllő. The Hungarian shooting was made with the help of film production company Pioneer Stillking. Almost immediately in the first episode, we can see Kata Sarbó, who acts as Ava Macon, a mathematician, who with her expertise helps to guide and land the Daedalus on Mars. Máté Haumann plays as one of the leaders of IMSF, a fictional, non-existent organization that finances the Mars mission in the series.
This wasn’t the first time a Martian story had been shot in Budapest. Apart from filming the first season of the NatGeo series, director Ridley Scott had previously made the film The Martian (2015), starring Matt Damon in Hungary. The fact that that movie moved to Hungary for shooting, Attila Szalay played a huge part in it.