SBIFF: Cousteau Family presented with Attenborough Award


    “If You Protect the Ocean, You Protect Yourself.”

Jean-Michel Cousteau

On the second night of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, I attended an event honoring three members of the world famous Cousteau family – Jean-Michel, son Fabien, and daughter Celine – with the Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking.

Secret Ocean 3D

Secret Ocean 3D/Photo Courtesy

The evening began with the premiere of Secret Ocean 3D, a beautiful film focusing on the some of the smaller and less known species of the sea.

Shot in sub-tropic and tropical locations like the Bahamas and the Fiji islands and featuring segments including Squid City, Kelp Forest Avenue, Octopus Ride, Christmas Tree Symphony, Zooplankton Spaceships, and the Arrow Crabs’ dance.

Filmed using various methods including Ultra-HD 4K, slow motion, and Motion-macro 3D, these technologies allow the viewer an unprecedented close look at these rarely seen marine organisms.

Mission 31

Fabien outside his submarine dwelling on Mission 31 /Photo Courtesy of Mission 31


After the conclusion of the film, the Cousteau family were seated and where they discussed the plight of our oceans and the biosphere with actor Tim Matheson. Celine, Jean-Michel’s daughter, is passionate about using film to communicate issues to a global audience.“For me, it’s very important to put the human being at the center of every story. That’s how you connect to a wider audience and have them understand their connection to any place, ecosystem, or issue.” Her project “Tribes on the Edge” focuses on Halting the deforestation of the Amazon and the displacement of indigenous peoples. Jean-Michel’s son, Fabien, recently completed a 31 day experiment living in an submarine laboratory off the coast of Florida. He is making a documentary and book about the experience.

Frances deGruy, Mimi deGruy, Tim Matheson, and wife Megan./Photo Courtesy of

Frances deGruy, Mimi deGruy, Tim Matheson, and wife Megan./Photo Courtesy of

The evening concluded with the presentation of the Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking, by Mimi deGruy, the wife of the late filmmaker Mike deGruy, founder of the award. Reward recipients of the past include the creators of “The Cove”, James Cameron, Al Gore and Davis Guggenheim. 


About Author

Tamlorn Chase

Tamlorn Chase hails from the coastal town of Santa Barbara, where he works as a wilderness guide, wildlife filmmaker, and environmental activist. Protecting the natural world is his profession and passion.

Comments are closed.

Powered by