Bonus minisode: Liz Garbus, Filmmaker
I’m here today with a bonus minisode with two-time Academy-Award nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus to celebrate the release of her latest documentary Becoming Cousteau.
If you listened to last Tuesday’s interview with Anna Godas, CEO of Dogwoof, you’ll have heard me mention the film. Well it’s out in UK cinemas today and all puns intended, I think you’ll have a whale of a time.
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, Liz 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.
It’s a documentary that reinstates or reframes Cousteau as a revolutionary, as well as a father and filmmaker, and I’m quoting the New York Times here “succeeds in restoring some of Cousteau’s luster, and also his relevance. It’s a swift-moving, detailed biography, recounting a life that was long, eventful and stippled with tragedy and regret.”
It’s awe-inspiring, heartbreaking, energetic and emotional filmmaking, and at 93 minutes long, should definitely be high up on your watchlist this weekend.
Liz Garbus is one of America's most celebrated documentary filmmakers. She has received three Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, two Academy Award nominations, and a Grammy Award nomination for her body of work, which includes The Farm: Angola, USA; What Happened, Miss Simone?; Bobby Fischer Against the World; Nothing Left Unsaid; There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane; The Fourth Estate; among others. In 2020 she turned her hand to narrative filmmaking and directed Lost Girls which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and is currently available to watch on Netflix.
We talk about why she was compelled to make this film about Cousteau, how she imbued the documentary with his own adventurous spirit, how she crafted his story through over 550 hours of archive material and the different muscles you have to flex working on fiction as opposed to non-fiction. It’s a brief but buoyant conversation, and I was thrilled to have the chance to speak with Liz about her wonderful film.