EXCLUSIVE: The 34th annual Santa Barbara Film Festival kicks off tonight with its opening-night film Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, the world premiere of the documentary about the Emmy-winning filmmaker, biologist and adventurer who also happens to have been a Santa Barbara local. His wife and filmmaking partner Mimi deGruy directed the pic, which highlights her husband’s remarkable career and life — a life tragically cut short when he was killed in a 2012 helicopter crash in Australia while filming for director James Cameron.

Check out the first look at the docu with its trailer above.

Mike deGruy filmed in oceans the world over and was a passionate advocate on behalf of the sea creatures he often helped discover. He became an outspoken environmental activist especially after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, which directly impacted the his Alabama birthplace.

His credits include filming on such docus as Deepsea Challenge 3D starring Cameron, Planet Earth, Last Mysteries of the Titanic, The Planets and the PBS series Nature. He won a Primetime Emmy for cinematography for 2001’s epic The Blue Planet.

Mimi deGruy wrote, produced and directed Diving Deep via The Film Crew Inc, the company Mike started in Santa Barbara in 1979. It screens tonight at 8 PM at  the Arlington Theatre on Main Street. Shannon Dybvig is co-producer. Henry Hillman, Amber Hillman, Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin are executive producers.

Check out the trailer above with some stunning archival footage, as well as talking-head commentary from the likes of Cameron and David Attenborough. Below is the official poster:

Diving Deep