Montreal, Canada-based Galafilm, Toronto-based interactive solutions company Snap Media, and London prodco Mentorn recently beat out the competition for a lucrative contract with Discovery Canada to produce Race to Mars.
The cablecaster put out an open call to producers last June during the Banff Television Festival asking for a program on the Red Planet. The commission offered was a whopping CDN$4 million (US$3.1 million). The winning project, however, will carry a budget in excess of $10 million (US$7.8 million) should all of the proposed components be executed. Those include a 4 x 60-minute docudrama on the race to Mars, a reality series that simulates an expedition to the planet (both shot in high-def), and a robust web component that features interactive games. A companion book is also planned, as well as science museum exhibits and content for mobile devices such as cellular phones.
Arnie Gelbart, founder and president of Galafilm, says the basis for the project is a realistic examination of where the science is at for a manned trip to Mars. He further notes that experts at NASA and the Canadian Space Agency are on board the project. He estimates the web component will hit the Ether in 2005. Production on the TV components will begin in 2004 and will be ready for broadcast in 2005 or 2006. The production team is currently looking for international partners. KB