Ever since Arora was a kid she wanted to become an astronaut.
She worked hard and did everything she thought will get her closer to her dream, including letting go of her loved ones. As she fulfilled her goals, she realized that every step she took, also prepared her to embrace what she will ultimately call “The greatest adventure of her life”. 92MARS is more than the story of one person traveling to Mars, it is the journey of the human soul and the unknown possibilities that lie ahead. It is also a story about life itself… You never stop, you work hard, you make mistakes, you learn, you amend your wrongs, and never stop. And one day, you end up living the greatest adventure of your life.
The story of how this short came about is the story of a experience that change my life. On July 3 2018 as I was browsing my facebook feed I read and add for the Project Mars Competition. This is how I remember that moment I think it read “NASA wants you to show your vision of humanity traveling to Mars in a 5 minutes short film… Rough One a Star Wars story Director Gareth Edwards will judge you film”. Immediately my mind was going 1000 miles a hour. Not even in my wildest dreams I would get an opportunity like this. Somewhere in the site I read that the trip to Mars would take nine months. In an instance the story came to me.. I knew I only had a couple of months to do it, so I would not have much time to work on special effects shots, so I though, I have to make the story about the character, I though of a woman rising her children on Mars, I said to my self I’ll tell the story of the first mother on Mars, and by doing so I’ll tell the story of not one individual, but all of humanity traveling to the Red One, traveling to Mars, humanity’s new home. I wanted to get an amazing talented and very good friend of mine, Mike J Tang, to be my DP. We had talk about doing something together for so long, I knew this was going to be that time. By the end of that day I had a storyboard with a shot list down to the camera movements and type of lens we were going to need, I email Mike and next morning he said, YES, but he could not come to Orlando to shoot until August 13. I took that as great news, it would give time to start building the sets, making an animatic, creating the computer generated shots, and making sure that my 3 year old daughter Emilia, my 7 year old son Leonardo, and my 10 year old daughter Victoria could do the acting. Every time I had chance during the days before the shooting started I took them outside and asked them to play their parts. My biggest concern was how to make Emilia play her parts, the funny thing is that by the time we starting shooting, Emilia was like “yeah, yeah Daddy, I know what to do”.ADVERTISEMENT
Let me tell you something, at our house, Daddy has talked about making his movies for ever, but at alI had done until that point were storyboards and small animations, so when on August 10 I told Gaby, my wife, that I need it to turn the leaving room into a spaceship and that I need it the kids to miss school for 3 days to shoot a film. Well, lets say it took her some time too warm up to the idea that this was actually happening :). But on August 13, day one of shooting all the Bernardini family was in full movie mode and ready to conquer the world. Everyone put their hearts and souls in to the movie, it was the first time I had worked with Mike and at times it was like he was reading my mind. Every time I told him how I wanted a scene to look like, he would make it look exactly like I had it pictured in my head, or even better. So the time came to shoot our very first scene, and because of many things happening at the same time, I had to schedule the birth scene first. I knew it was going to be the hardest to pull of, and although I’ve never directed an actor before, I let my instincts take over. I’ve only seen pictures of Vivian and blindly believed in Mike and Cristina who though that she could play the part. Then I met the amazing Vivian, it was on the same day we started shooting, actually hours before start shooting, but immediately her personality outshine her physical beauty, she overheard that we were in need of some materials to get shoot the way we wanted, and she volunteer and ran out to buy all we need it. Then it came time to shoot the birth scene, I din’t asked her to play the scene like she was giving birth, first of all she hasn’t, so instead I asked her to dig deep in to a place that could make her feel pain, and that when the moment to hold the doll in her arms came, to think that she was holding something or someone that she really care about but had lost. Then, it happened, Everyone quite please, Smoke off, Recording, and Action… Vivian close her eyes, lean back… And, She, Gave, Birth! As she cried and screamed we all felt it, it was real. And I knew, I knew then that 92MARS was going to be amazing. thanks to the most amazing group of friends and family that believed in me, we made such and amazing movie, that it WON an special award as the most inspiring film, I was already in shock and completely overwhelmed when I got a call from Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), they wanted to let me know that they were going to fly my wife and I to Washington D.C. for a special award Gala at the National Geographic Headquarters, to receive the award and meet the main judge of the competition, GARETH EDWARDS.
So before getting to DC I had my expectations, then I had my dream scenario, and then there is what actually happened. My expectations were that Gareth was going to be in booth siting on a table with a long line of people getting his autograph, I would get mine and done. My dream scenario was that as I got my turn to get his autograph someone would tell him, this is Ricardo, and he would go on to say “Oh Ricardo good job on your movie, I really like it” that way I could go on saying that Gareth really liked my movie. What happened was completely unexpected. I ended up talking all night about moviemaking with what it felt like a life long friend, Gareth is an amazing, funny and down to earth human.
I’m not sure how things will continue to move forward from here, and that’s a good thing, because that means that I have never been in this place, this close to achieving this dream of mine. What I do know if that wining this competition showed me that I had to make a course correction on my itinerary, and now for the first time I can see the finish line.