“…succeeds as a touching personal reminiscence and as an understated but effective environmental manifesto.”
– The Hollywood Reporter
To make a donation in support of the production of Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, please make out a check payable to: Redford Center, Inc. and mail to PO Box 29144, San Francisco, CA 94129. The Redford Center's Tax ID is 46-4549706. Be sure to be write "Diving Deep" on the notes/memo line of the check.
Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, tells the story of Mike deGruy, an irrepressibly curious and enthusiastic underwater filmmaker who died suddenly in 2012. DeGruy filmed the oceans for more than three decades becoming as famous for his on camera storytelling as for his glorious, intimate visions of the sea and the creatures who live in it. Inspired to share his legacy as a filmmaker and storyteller, and to spread his mission for protecting the ocean, his wife and filmmaking partner Mimi deGruy returned to the edit room to produce Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy.
When she was finally able to watch footage after Mike died, Mimi deGruy found a piece she’d never seen, shot not long after the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill. She watched it again and again and knew she had to make a film. The footage depicted a different Mike because at that moment, he’d gone from an artist sharing the wonder of the deep to an enraged and impassioned warrior.
Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, tells that story and while it celebrates Mike and all he accomplished in his amazing career, it also highlights what he cared most about at the time of his death: we are destroying the ocean before we even know what’s there. If Mike deGruy were alive today he would be spending all his energy to fight on behalf of the ocean, for continued exploration, particularly of the deepsea, research, understanding and ultimately encouraging a reciprocal relationship with it before it is too late.
With Mike’s own breathtaking underwater cinematography, his topside storytelling, interviews with Mike and also those he worked with like Sir David Attenborough, James Cameron, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Alastair Fothergill, Paul and Grace Atkins and others, Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, tells the moving story of one man determined to share both his passion and his concern. Mike deGruy was in deep conversation with the ocean his entire life and as a result, was a consummate storyteller of the sea. But he had a lot more to say and Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, makes the compelling case that it is now up to us to carry on what Mike deGruy himself couldn’t finish.
But this is also a story about hope. Because while Mike was distraught over our treatment of the oceans, he was also hopeful there would be a change in consciousness. He had tremendous belief in the ability of communities to work together to affect positive change, and he saw in the next generation a group of people who could make that happen.Together, we can carry his mission forward.
Meet the Team
Director, Producer, Writer
Mimi Armstrong deGruy is a Santa Barbara based documentary filmmaker. With her late husband, Mike deGruy, she produced numerous hours of award winning television for National Geographic Television, The British Broadcasting Corporation, and other broadcasters.
Prior to working with Mike deGruy, Mimi worked for CNN, Turner Broadcasting's series Portrait of America and the PBS Series The Infinite Voyage.
Armstrong deGruy holds a B.A. from Yale University and is the mother of two adult children who remind her a lot of Mike. Like Mike, Mimi believes wholeheartedly in community and its ability to affect change. She's an enthusiastic supporter of and volunteer for non profits that support environmental change and children's education.
Stephen Barber is an American composer, arranger and musician, known for working with David Byrne, Keith Richards, John Legend, Natalie Merchant, T. Bone Burnett, Rosanne Cash, The London Symphony Orchestra, Christopher Cross, Bonnie Raitt, Indigo Girls, Michael Stipe and Shawn Colvin Josef Zawinul, Ornette Coleman, Miguel Bose, Caetano Veloso, Marisa Monte, Ana Torroja, Giberto Gil, Andres Levin and CuCu Diamantes, Jorge Perugorria
Born in Abilene, Texas. Barber started playing the piano at the age of three years, began playing guitar at eleven and started writing music at the age of twelve and has never stopped doing any of those.
Barber has had long time professional relationships with many musicians including guitarist Eric Johnson and Christopher Cross. Among the many film scores composed by Stephen Barber is the music he composed for producers Mike deGruy and Mimi Armstrong deGruy’s shark film for the BBC and National Geographic. In 2001, Barber became a founder and artistic director of the Barbwire Music Project, an Austin, Texas based non-profit commissioning, presenting and educational organization for contemporary American music. In 2004, he was inducted into the Austin Music Awards Hall of Fame. In 2011, he released his album, Astral Vinyl, on Navona Records. Barber currently resides in Austin, Texas.
Shannon Dybvig is an independent editor and consultant who works with filmmakers, authors, educators, and do-gooders in Southern California. Past and present clients include Lynda.com, The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, The Santa Barbara LandTrust, and DVarchive.
She is an alumnus of Brooks Institute of Photography and was among the inaugural class of Master of Fine Arts candidates to graduate in 2008. She lives in Ventura with almost too many dogs.
Mary Dawson is an independent financial professional who’s worked with the deGruy family in Santa Barbara for many years. Mary has been involved in numerous projects with both Mike and Mimi deGruy and has been responsible for preparing budgets and financials for The Film Crew Inc.
With Diving Deep she will be responsible for overseeing financial reports, production budgets, and tracking donations through Kickstarter.
Mary feels honored to work on this project that celebrates Mike's life's work and his dedication to oceanic research, exploration and stewardship.
Aaron Huelsman is an undergraduate student finishing up his zoology degree at UC Santa Barbara. He has had a profound love for wildlife for as long as he can remember, inspired by the likes of Steve Irwin, Jeff Corwin, David Attenborough, and Mike deGruy. He hopes to continue their mission of educating the public and inspiring respect for the natural world.
Aaron co-produced "Remnants", a short environmental documentary about the proposed Rigs-to-Reef project, and is the president of The Wildlife Society at UCSB.
Educated at Brooks Institute of Photography with an emphasis in film, Brent Sumner is a Santa Barbara documentary filmmaker who has worked on numerous productions through his company Studio 8 for nearly twenty years in locations ranging from California to Australia to Russia.
His work as a cinematographer, editor and director has ranged from reality network television to PBS programs to a variety of documentaries based on local interests, and Sumner received a Gold Metal at the International Film Awards for both cinematography and editing of a documentary featuring Robert Duvall.
Inspired initially by a scuba diving accident at Santa Cruz Island nearly a decade ago, Brent has since turned his camera towards California's Channel Islands, ultimately creating a three-part PBS series revealing the human history of the islands, ”West of the West: Tales from California's Channel Islands." Brent continues to document the human history as it unfolds on the islands, as well as beneath the sea as an underwater cinematographer, exploring such mediums as 360 virtual reality for Jaunt.
With French and Native American roots, Esther Shubinski grew up in the South of France and moved to the U.S when she was 16. She studied Film at UC Berkeley and UCLA, where she taught Documentary Production in the MFA Program. She works as a producer and director, as well as camera woman and editor for TV and Independent Documentaries.
Esther is the recipient of numerous awards, and her work has been featured in The Telluride Film Festival, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, American Documentary Film festival in Palm Springs and DokuFest in Kosovo.