Jacques Cousteau gestures at his latest underwater research vessel in Puerto Rico. (Thomas J. Abercrombie/National Geographic Creative)

Feature Documentary to Unveil Never-Before-Seen Footage of Legendary Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau With Exclusive Access to the Cousteau Society Archives

A new documentary created by National Geographic is expected partner two-time Academy Award nominated director Liz Garbus and Oscar-winning producers Dan Cogan and Evan Heyes to highlight the life of Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau.

National Geographic made the announcement this week.

From a press release:

Two-time Academy Award-nominated and two-time Emmy-winning director Liz Garbus (“The Farm, Angola USA,” “What Happened, Miss Simone?”) will direct and produce the feature biopic about the world’s most famous ocean explorer, Jacques Cousteau, with Academy Award winner Dan Cogan (“Icarus”) as producer. Academy Award winner Evan Hayes (Free Solo) will also produce under his ACE Content banner.

Cousteau was an inventor, explorer, environmentalist and filmmaker who revolutionized our understanding of the natural world, giving mankind the resources to explore the ocean with the Aqua Lung, the first open-circuit, self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba). An avid conservationist, he also fervently called attention to the consequences of ocean pollution and was a long-time collaborator with the National Geographic Society. He later founded the Cousteau Society, an American nonprofit that produced movies and television series broadcast worldwide. In these, Cousteau took audiences with him on dozens of expeditions, where he guided us below sea level and taught us where to look, how to see and why we must preserve. In 1973, he gave to the Cousteau Society the worldwide, perpetual and exclusive rights to represent his name, likeness and work. The Cousteau Society carries on his missions today all over the planet.

The documentary will offer 4K footage from the Cousteau Society’s archives, a “deep dive” into the life of Cousteau, and will showcase “the man behind some of the world’s most significant contributions to marine conservation.”

“Jacques Cousteau was a conservation pioneer whose advocacy to protect our oceans dovetails perfectly with National Geographic’s core values,” said Carolyn Bernstein, EVP of 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.”

“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.”

Production is expected to begin this spring.

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