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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From Antarctica to the tropical Pacific, Paul Atkins has filmed the world’s cultures and natural history for National Geographic, for the BBC including such acclaimed series as Planet Earth, for IMAX screens, and more recently for Oscar-winning feature films. His cinematography and directing have earned numerous awards including Emmys, British Academy Awards and a prestigious Telluride Film Festival Tribute.
Early in his career, Paul teamed up with Mike deGruy, and together they were responsible for some of the most dramatic and memorable images of natural history including underwater volcanic eruptions in Hawaii, and killer whales preying on seals in Patagonia for the BBC’s Trials of Life.
With his wife and partner, producer Grace Atkins, Paul has produced and filmed groundbreaking documentaries that challenged our myths and inspired protection of the natural world. The multiple Emmy-winning Hawaii: Strangers in Paradise (Nat Geo/BBC) dramatized the history of alien species invasion in Hawaii, and Great White Shark (BBC/Nat Geo) was the first film to reveal the natural behavior of the iconic predator, inspiring the best-selling book, The Devil’s Teeth. Paul was director of photography on Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Voyage to Kure, the film that persuaded President George W. Bush to declare the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands a National Monument in 2006.
As a cinematographer in feature films, Paul has collaborated with the most respected and innovative directors in the business, including Peter Weir (Master and Commander), Alejandro Inarritu (The Revenant) and Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life). On a 40-day epic voyage around Cape Horn, he filmed the storm sequence for Master and Commander, which won the 2004 Academy Award for cinematography. His stunning visuals in The Tree of Life contributed to an Oscar nomination for cinematography, and Paul has continued to work with Malick on To the Wonder, Knight of Cups and the legendary director’s most ambitious film to date, The Voyage of Time.
Paul is in development on his first feature as a director, The Devil’s Teeth, executive produced by Terrence Malick.
Gretchen Rennell started her career in the theatre business answering phones for Harold Prince, the Broadway director and producer. It was an exciting time in NYC as he had four shows up and running on Broadway. From there she moved into the world of feature film casting and trained under the sharp eye of Marion Dougherty.
She was vice-president of casting at Paramount Pictures before she moved on to Head of Casting at Walt Disney Pictures in Burbank.
Some of the movies cast have been, Flashdance, Cotton Club, Children of A Lesser God, The Color of Money, Agnes of God, Matinee, Nothing To Lose, Leap of Faith, The Horse Whisperer and some she would just as soon not mention.
Now living in Sheffield, Massachusetts and happy to have landed there.
Sally Fay is a writer and a filmmaker. She began her career in production in the early 1980’s as part of the team that launched the Arts and Entertainment Channel in New York City. Her environmental work began around the same time supporting and fundraising for the Natural Resources Defense Council in their first offices near Grand Central. One of her first short films that she wrote, produced and directed was for a benefit supporting NRDC called,”Watertalk,” which premiered along with Robert Redford’s film, “A River Runs Through It,” in NYC. Sally is honored to now be part of the, “Diving Deep Movie,” Advisory Board, supporting Mimi, a longtime friend, in the important work of this film, pulling focus on to the majesty of our oceans and the inspiration of her late husband, Mike.
Sally has produced several short films supporting non-profits, (“Maximizing Courage,” for the Max Warburg Courage Curriculum; “Bruce Shaw, Headmaster,” for Shady Hill School in Cambridge), as well as, written, produced and directed, two short narrative films. She is currently working on a film about Early Onset Alzheimer’s.
Sally has been a regular contributor writing profiles for IMAGINE magazine, a monthly publication circulated to the film/television community in New England. Since 2010, Sally has blogged for the Huffington Post writing on a variety of topics ranging from Art and Culture, to Travel, the Environment, Relationships, and Alzheimer’s.
Sally has served on several boards, such as, Women in Film and Video/New England, the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, the Max Warburg Courage Curriculum, UNICEF/New England, and, also, Chaired fundraising events, for the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Boston Public Library/Literary Lights, the Shady Hill School, and many more.
Charlie Humphrey is the former Executive Director of Pittsburgh Filmmakers, a position he held for 23 years. Pittsburgh Filmmakers is one of the oldest and largest media arts centers in the United States.
Before joining Filmmakers, Humphrey was editor and publisher of In Pittsburgh Newsweekly, an alternative newspaper. Prior to that he was a public radio producer and announcer, and still does occasional voiceover work for film and other media. He has worked in the arts in Pittsburgh for 35 years.
In addition to his role at Filmmakers, Humphrey was Executive Director of Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, assuming the dual positions after the Center closed amid a financial crisis in August of 2004, and was publisher and co-founder of the on-line investigative web site PublicSource. Until recently, PublicSource was a program of Filmmakers.
From September 2007 until April 2011, Humphrey was also executive director of the Pittsburgh Glass Center, at a time when the organization was struggling financially.
Until very recently, Humphrey sat on the board of Directors of the Quantum Theater and The Ellis School. He is a past president of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture and past chair of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Alliance, an organization he helped to form. Over the last decade he has been on the boards of Silver Eye Center for Photography, the New Hazlett Theater, the Andy Warhol Museum, WESA, The Mattress Factory, funding panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Massachusetts Cultural Council, The Heinz Family Foundation and the Heinz Endowments’ Small Arts Initiative and the Fisher Fund of the Pittsburgh Foundation.
Humphrey graduated from Whitman College in 1981 with a degree in philosophy.
From filming sharks in South Africa to struggling coral reefs in Tahiti, Michael Hanrahan has dedicated his career to creating compelling media about today’s environmental issues. He is both an educator and filmmaker who teaches environmental media storytelling at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Carsey-Wolf Center for Film, TV, and New Media. A New York City native, Michael dove into the world of environmental filmmaking after studying marine science and film at the University of Miami. He has since worked with clients such as Discovery Channel, The Nature Conservancy, and NOAA to tell science-driven stories about the natural world.
Alastair Fothergill was educated at Harrow School and the Universities of St. Andrew’s and Durham. He joined the BBC Natural History Unit in 1983. He worked on a wide range of the department’s programmes, including the BAFTA award-winning The Really Wild Show, Wildlife on One, The Natural World and the innovative Reefwatch, where he was one of the team that developed the first live broadcasting from beneath the sea.
Alastair went on to work on the BBC1 series The Trials of Life with Sir David Attenborough.
In 1993 he produced Life in the Freezer, a six-part series for BBC1 celebrating the wildlife of the Antarctic, presented by Sir David Attenborough. While still working on this series, he was appointed Head of the BBC Natural History Unit in November 1992, aged 32.
In June 1998 , he stood down as Head of the Unit to concentrate on his role as Series Producer of The Blue Planet, a landmark series on the natural history of the world’s oceans. In 2001 Alastair become Director of Development for the Natural History Unit.
In 2002 he co-presented Going Ape, a film that took Alastair to the Ivory Coast in Africa. He has produced ‘Deep Blue’, a cinematic movie of the world’s oceans and he was one of the presenters and executive producer of the innovative live broadcast Live from the Abyss.
He was Series Producer for the Natural History Unit’s landmark series, Planet Earth, the ultimate portrait of our planet. He subsequently co-directed the cinematic version Earth to great worldwide acclaim.
He was Executive Producer on the Unit’s major landmark series Frozen Planet, a natural history of the Polar Regions, which aired to record audiences and critical acclaim in autumn 2011.
In addition to his work with the BBC Natural History Unit, Alastair co-directed two cinematic movies for Disney as part of their Disney Nature label. One of these movies featured the big cats of East Africa and was released in the states in April 2011 and worldwide during 2012. The second movie features chimpanzees was released in the states in April 21012 and will be released worldwide in 2013.
In November 2012 Alastair left the BBC to set up his own production company Silverback Films. He is currently co-directing three further cinema films for Disney Nature.
In 2015, Silverbacks Films completed a new landmark series for BBC 1, The Hunt, which looks at the dynamic relationships between predators and their prey. We have also completed an IMAX version of the series entitled Incredible Predators.
The company is now working on another landmark series for BBC 1 to be broadcast in autumn 2020. They are also in production with a major landmark natural history series for Netflix, Our Planet, which will be released global in April 2019.
Alastair is fellow of the Royal Geographic Society who awarded him their gold medal in 2102. He has honorary doctorates from the Universities of Durham, Hull and York St. John. Alastair lives in Bristol with his wife Melinda, two sons and three Jack Russells.
Dr. Samantha Joye
Dr. Samantha Joye is the Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in Arts and Sciences in the Department of Marine Sciences in the University of Georgia’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. She is an expert in geochemistry and microbial ecology and works in open ocean and nearshore ecosystems. Her work is interdisciplinary, bridging the fields of chemistry, microbiology, and geology.
Dr. Joye’s research has been widely published in leading scientific journals, and she is regularly called upon by national and international scientific and policy agencies for expert commentary. Her work has been funded by substantial, multi-year grants from the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, among others.
Dr. Joye has been studying natural seepage of oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico for over fifteen years. Her research related to the 2010 Gulf oil spill zone has examined the distribution of deepwater plumes of oil and gas, and her group continues to measure the activities of the microorganisms that break down oil and gas and assess the impacts of the spill on blue water benthic and pelagic ecosystems. She has appeared in several documentary films, including Black and Blue: Beneath the Gulf Oil Disaster, a documentary on the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill that received a regional Emmy award for best topical documentary film. Her academic honors include being named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (in 2014) and receiving a Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award (in 2015).
Dr. Joye earned her Ph.D. in Marine Sciences from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1993 and joined the faculty of the University of Georgia in 1997, having served briefly as a research associate at San Francisco State University and an assistant professor of oceanography at Texas A&M. She was also awarded a fellowship at the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study in Delmenhorst, Germany, where she served as a visiting professor at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, in 2002-03.
Starting to work in film as an actor at 17, Perry Lang has acted in over thirty films and seventy hours of television. His film work includes Sam Fuller’s The Big Red One, Steven Spielberg’s 1941 and John Sayles’ Sunshine State as well as Eight Men Out where Perry played one of the indicted eight who threw the 1919 World Series.
His television work as an actor includes MASH, the title character in the Emmy winning television special Hewitt’s Just Different, A Rumor Of War and numerous guest appearances, including many projects that he has himself either written or directed.
As a writer and director, Perry started professionally writing doing Tales From The Darkside in New York. Among a number of studio assignments, he wrote the first film he directed, Little Vegas then rewrote the second, the Action Adventure; Men of War.
Since then Perry Lang has directed a hundred hours of television including NYPD Blue, ER, Alias, NCIS: Los Angeles and Weeds.
He is presently in post-production on An Interview with God which he directed in New York City. The film stars David Strathairn and Brenton Thwaites.
Perry is on the directing faculty at the AFI Conservatory and lives with his family in Santa Barbara, California.
Ginger Salazar is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Imagitas, Inc., a direct marketing company that formed innovative public private partnerships with federal and state government. Imagitas was sold to Pitney Bowes in 2005. Ginger focuses much of her energy on her children and volunteer work, including having served on the boards of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, Prevent Child Abuse America, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and on Stanford University’s LEAD Council. Additionally, Ginger currently provides branding, marketing and strategic planning direction for a portfolio of companies.
Arthur Schmidt is a two time Academy Award winning American film editor with about 27 film credits between 1977 and 2005. Schmidt has had an extended collaboration with director Robert Zemeckis that extended from Back to the Future (1985) to Cast Away (2000).
Schmidt is the son of the distinguished film editor Arthur P. Schmidt; it is said that the son’s education in editing began when he watched his father editing the film Sunset Boulevard. Schmidt graduated from Santa Clara University with a bachelor’s degree in English.
Schmidt received the Academy Award for Best Film Editing for Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Forrest Gump. In addition to these Oscars, Schmidt has won several “Eddies” from the American Cinema Editors for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (with Craig Wood and Stephen E. Rivkin), Forrest Gump, and for a television special The Jericho Mile. He has been nominated for major editing awards (including the BAFTA Award for Best Editing) for Coal Miner’s Daughter, Back to the Future (with Harry Keramidas), Last of the Mohicans (with Dov Hoenig), and Cast Away. He was the executive producer for The Labyrinth.
Schmidt received the 2009 American Cinema Editors Career Achievement Award, which was presented to Schmidt by Robert Zemeckis.