EXCLUSIVE: National Geographic has set its next documentary, which will focus on famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau. Two-time Oscar-nominated and two-time Emmy-winning director Liz Garbus (The Farm, Angola USA, What Happened, Miss Simone?) will direct and produce, with Oscar winner Dan Cogan (Icarus) as producer. Oscar winner Evan Hayes (Free Solo) will also produce under his ACE Content banner.
The doc will feature never-before-seen 4K footage of Cousteau with exclusive access to the Cousteau Society Archives. Its focus will be on the inventor-explorer-environmentalist-filmmaker revolution, i.e., giving mankind the resources to explore the ocean with the Aqua Lung, calling attention to ocean pollution, and his longtime collaboration with the National Geographic Society.
“Jacques Cousteau was a conservation pioneer whose advocacy to protect our oceans dovetails perfectly with National Geographic’s core values,” said Carolyn Bernstein, EVP Scripted Content and Documentary Films for National Geographic. “We are honored that the Cousteau Society has entrusted us with this treasure trove of personal footage. Together with Liz Garbus, Dan Cogan and Evan Hayes, we hope to create a fitting tribute to Cousteau’s legacy that will celebrate his life’s work and unparalleled contributions to oceanography.”
“As a little girl, I watched Jacques Cousteau in wonder and amazement every Sunday night,” said Garbus. “He brought cameras into a strange, wild and beautiful world few had ever seen, and nobody else had ever filmed before. He inspired me to dream and imagine my own unseen worlds. I want my children’s generation to get to know this transcendent figure, to dream their own dreams and to be inspired to love and preserve the natural world just as he was.”
“We are excited to work with National Geographic, Liz Garbus and this amazing film team,” said Francine Cousteau, president of the Cousteau Society. “Our goal is to help people understand and appreciate the fragility of life on our water planet. This film will not only honor Jacques’ legacy, but also further our message of conservation.”
National Geographic Documentary Films recently won Best Documentary Feature Oscar and BAFTA award for Free Solo, which amassed $17.5 million at the domestic box office. The doc also won at Cinema Audio Society, Motion Picture Sound Editors, Critics’ Choice and Cinema Eye. In 2017, two films released under NatGeo’s Documentary Films banner, Jane and LA 92, made the Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary Feature, and both won Emmys: LA 92 for Special Merit and Jane for Best Director and Best Cinematography.