Adventurer, filmmaker, inventor, author, unlikely celebrity and conservationist: For over four decades, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his explorations under the ocean became synonymous with a love of science and the natural world. As he learned to protect the environment, he brought the whole world with him, sounding alarms more than 50 years ago about the warming seas and our planet’s vulnerability. In BECOMING COUSTEAU, from National Geographic Documentary Films, two-time Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker LIZ GARBUS takes an inside look at Cousteau and his life, his iconic films and inventions, and the experiences that made him the 20th century’s most unique and renowned environmental voice — and the man who inspired generations to protect the Earth.
About the Filmmakers
Liz GarbusDIRECTOR AND PRODUCER
Two-time Academy Award® nominee (“The Farm: Angola, USA,” “What Happened, Miss Simone?”), two-time Emmy® winner (Directing, Drama Series, and Directing, Nonfiction Programming), Peabody winner (“A Dangerous Son”), GRAMMY® nominee (“What Happened, Miss Simone?”), DGA nominee (“What Happened, Miss Simone?”) and BAFTA-nominated (“Reporting Trump’s First Year: The Fourth Estate”), director Liz Garbus is one of America’s most celebrated filmmakers, renowned for her documentary work and also for her breakthrough scripted debut. Her work has been featured in film festivals from Sundance to Telluride to Toronto to the New York Film festival and has appeared in theaters and across streaming platforms, as well as premium cable television. She is known for her propulsive, socially incisive storytelling across genres. From “The Farm: Angola, USA” to “What Happened, Miss Simone?” to “I’ll Be Gone In The Dark,” Garbus has created some of the most important documentaries of our time.
Her series “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” premiered on HBO in June 2020. Garbus’ recent film “All In: The Fight for Democracy” premiered at the New York Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, drive-in screenings, theaters and digitally on Amazon Prime Video in September 2020. Her narrative feature debut, “Lost Girls,” premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2020 and was released on Netflix and in theaters in March 2020. “The Fourth Estate,” for Showtime, was nominated for a 2018 Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series. Her 2015 feature, Sundance opener, “What Happened, Miss Simone?,” a Netflix original, was nominated for a 2016 Oscar® for Best Documentary Feature and took home the Emmy Award for Best Documentary or Nonfiction Special.
Other credits include “The Innocence Files” (Netflix, 2020), “Who Killed Garrett Phillips?” (HBO, 2019), “There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane” (HBO, 2011), “The Farm: Angola, USA” (AA nominee, 1998) and many others.
Dan Cogan is one of the most prominent non-fiction producers working today. Both an Academy Award® (Icarus) and Emmy® Award (“The Apollo”) winner, Cogan founded Story Syndicate with Liz Garbus in 2019. Previously, he was the founding executive director of Impact Partners. He has produced more than 100 films and series, including “Icarus,” which won the 2018 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature; “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” which won the 2019 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary; “The Cove,” which won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature; and “The Apollo,” which won the 2020 Emmy for Outstanding Documentary.
Mridu Chandra is a New York-based filmmaker and veteran producer of award-winning documentaries and narrative films that have premiered at the Sundance, SXSW and Hot Docs film festivals; aired on PBS, HBO, Hulu and Netflix; screened for members of U.S. Congress and the United Nations; and showcased at museums and film festivals worldwide. Her documentaries explore topics of civil rights and peace, gender and sexuality, environmental justice, and the law. Her credits include producing “Ask the Sexpert,” “Out in the Night” (selected to launch the U.N.’s Free & Equal Global Film Series), “CURED” (for PBS in fall 2020), “Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin” (winner of over 20 international awards including the GLAAD Media Award), and “Electoral Dysfunction” (featured in a four-part The New York Times op-docs series and recipient of the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award). Her expertise as an archival media researcher and clearance specialist has additionally served numerous documentaries, narrative films, and Broadway productions, including “Whose Streets?,” “Shadow World,” “Steve Jobs” (directed by Danny Boyle), “Betrayal” (directed by Mike Nichols), “This Changes Everything” (based on the book by Naomi Klein) and “Regarding Susan Sontag” (recipient of the 2015 FOCAL International Award for Best Use of Archival Footage in an Arts Program). Prior to producing BECOMING COUSTEAU, she was the founding director (2016-2019) of IF/Then Shorts at Tribeca Film Institute, where she designed, launched and managed a new film fund and distribution initiative to support the professional development and increased visibility of filmmakers working regionally across the U.S. and around the world.
Evan Hayes is an Academy Award®, BAFTA and Emmy® Award-winning producer and a partner at ACE Content, based in Los Angeles. He has worked on over 30 films or series across a range of budgets and genres throughout his career. Hayes is currently in post-production on “The Yin & Yang of Gerry Lopez,” about the legendary surfer and directed by Stacy Peralta. He is also in production on the scripted series “Maggie” for ABC and 20th Television and two as-yet-unannounced feature documentaries. Previously, Hayes produced Dawn Porter’s award-winning documentary “The Way I See It” about President Obama’s chief official White House photographer Pete Souza, co-produced by Laura Dern, for Focus Features and NBC News Studios.
In 2019, Hayes won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for producing “Free Solo,” directed by E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin for National Geographic Films. In addition to winning an Oscar®, the film also won a BAFTA Award, four Critics Choice Awards, three Cinema Eye Honors awards, the TIFF People’s Choice Award and seven Primetime Emmy Awards, among others. Before joining ACE, Hayes served as president of Production at Parkes+MacDonald/Image Nation. The company made five feature films and a number of television projects during his tenure, including the documentary “He Named Me Malala,” directed by Academy Award-winner Davis Guggenheim about Nobel Peace Prize-winner Malala Yousafzai, and “The Circle,” starring Tom Hanks, Emma Watson and John Boyega. Prior to joining Parkes+MacDonald, Hayes served as president of Production at Story Mining & Supply Co., where he oversaw the Starz original series “Outlander” as well as the feature film “The Yellow Birds.” Hayes also spent eleven years at Working Title Films, where he worked as a producer or executive on such films as “Everest,” “Les Miserables,” “Contraband,” “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “State of Play,” “Frost/Nixon,” “A Serious Man,” “Burn After Reading,” “Hot Fuzz,” “Atonement,” “United 93” and “Senna.” Before joining Working Title, Hayes worked for producer Philip Steuer and Paramount Pictures’ Financial Planning and Creative Affairs departments. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Hayes is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. He is a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the Producer’s Guild of America and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
“Becoming Cousteau will well serve as a reminder and clarifier for those who remember him from their youth, and an invigorating introduction for those meeting him for the first time.”
DEADLINE, Todd McCarthy
“A wonderfully intimate portrait of the legendary oceanographer.”
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, Frank Scheck
“"Becoming Cousteau" is a delight of sensual images. You can almost feel the salt drying on everyone’s skin.”
THE PLAYLIST, Chris Barsanti
““Becoming Cousteau” is a dazzling dive into the depths of an undersea world.”
INDIEWIRE, Kristen Lopez
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National Geographic Documentary Films Presents A Story Syndicate Production In Association with The Cousteau Society & Ace Content
Directed by Liz Garbus
Produced by Liz Garbus, Dan Cogan, Mridu Chandra, Evan Hayes
Written by Mark Monroe & Pax Wasserman
Edited by Pax Wassermann
Executive Producers Julie Gaither, Carolyn Bernstein, Ryan Harrington