Private Project

Operation Mayfly

2016 Ig Nobel prize winner György Kriska and his colleagues decide to prevent a massacre: applying their latest results in hardcore biophysics and a bit of tinkering they do their best to ensure the reproduction of the Danube mayflies, who are trapped and killed by the floodlit bridges over the river.

  • Gergely Balazs
  • Balazs Lerner
  • Balazs Lerner
  • Gergely Balazs
  • Zsolt Marcell Toth
  • Attila David Molnar
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    A dunavirág mentőakció
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    50 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 18, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    25,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, Full HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Gergely Balazs, Balazs Lerner

Gergely Balázs is an evolutionary biologist and award winning filmmaker with a strong interest in cave fauna. His scientific work focuses the phylogenetic research of cave crustaceans and the analysis of vision and orientation of cave dwelling animals. As a professional cave diver he is involved in scientific and exploratory work from Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Yucatan Peninsula. With a strong interest in science communication, in the last decade Gergely tried all sorts of positions in the film industry ranging from being a field assistant to directing feature documentaries.

Balázs Lerner is an anthropologist and storyteller. After studying biology, archeology and anthropology he worked for several NGOs in Central Europe and in Africa. He authored several books on Africa, history and religions. He is currently working as a scientific editor for SPEKTRUM TV, a Hungarian documentary/infotainment TV channel. As an enthusiastic scuba diver he worked on underwater films in Sudan and Mexico but he mostly enjoys cave diving under his hometown, Budapest.

Since 2013 Gergely Balázs and Balázs Lerner has been working together as writers, directors and editors of informational and campaign videos, scientific video abstracts and nature documentaries. The features they worked on include:

Operation Mayfly (2016)
Budapest Inferno (2017)
Underwater Wilderness: Sudan (2017)
The Adventurous Life of the Diving Bell Spider (2018)
Inverse Everest (2019)

Their films won dozens of international awards, and are regularly screened at the largest wildlife festivals like International Wildlife Film Festival in Missuola, Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in New York, or Naturvision in Ludwigsburg, Germany.

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Director Statement

Ecological photopollution (EPP) has been defined as the degradation of the photic habitat by artificial light. Our main character, György Kriska and his collegues introduced a new term, the polarized light pollution (PLP), meaning all adverse effects on polarotactic aquatic insects attracted by horizontally polarized light reflected from artificial surfaces. PLP is a new kind of EPP, it is global and novel in an evolutionary sense. In numerous choice experiments with polarotactic insects and using imaging polarimetry we gave experimental evidence of PLP, such as (1) trapping of aquatic insects by dark oil surfaces; (2) dehydration of polarotactic insects attracted to black plastic sheets used in agriculture; (3) egg-laying of polarotactic mayflies onto dry asphalt roads; (4) attraction of aquatic insects to black, red or dark-colored car paintwork; (5) deception of polarotactic dragonflies by shiny black gravestones; (6) attraction of mass-swarming polarotactic caddis flies to glass surfaces. All such highly and horizontally polarizing artificial surfaces can act as polarized ecological traps for polarotactic insects, because these surfaces are inappropriate for the development of eggs laid by the deceived insects. The mortality associated with PLP may threaten populations of endangered aquatic insect species. There are some possible benefits and/or disadvantages of predators (spiders, birds, bats) feeding on the polarotactic insects attracted to different sources of PLP. There are some possible remedies of PLP, which is a byproduct of the human architectural, building, industrial and agricultural technology, and it may allow to function feeding webs composed of polarotactic insects and their predators. They emphasized that conservation planners should pay much more attention to aquatic insects because of their positive polarotaxis and their demonstrated vulnerability due to PLP.