Mike deGruy, documentary filmmaker, underwater cinematographer and celebrated late friend of Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), whose loving heart and charitable spirit gave birth to Field Trip to the Movies, will have his work on display in a retrospective at this year’s Film Festival. Fulfilling multiple roles within each film, deGruy’s work provides insight into the wonders of nature. Here’s a peek into a handful of his films:
DeGruy served as director for Hawaii: Islands of the Fire Goddess. Set in beautiful Hawaii, this award-winning film examines volcanism inside the fiery throat of an active volcano as it explodes and pours into the sea. The film was produced for the BBC series “The Natural World” and WNET’s PBS series “Nature.” The film plays Thursday, January 31 at 4 p.m.
Incredible Suckers illustrates the amazing abilities of deGruy’s favorite creature, cephalopods: octopus, squid, cuttlefish and chambered nautilus. Produced, presented, written and directed by deGruy, this film is the recipient of many international awards and is a co-production between BBC and PBS’s “Nature.” Kick off February with this film, playing Friday, February 1 at 10 a.m.
Other films screened already this week include the film The Octopus Show, also in conjunction with “Nature” and National Geographic. Though exploring the depth of the sea, the spirit of the film is quite light, looking at the unbelievable behavior of the octopus.
The Perfect Shark, a fresh, new examination of shark species, was also already shown during the festival. As host, deGruy travels backwards through time looking at older sharks and comparing them to today’s sharks, using a digital-imaging program to create a “virtuarium.” The Perfect Shark was produced for BBC and Discovery Channel.
DeGruy does it all within the one-hour film Tempest From the Deep,also previously screened. Depicting the intense impact the 1998 El Niño had on California’s marine mammals and kelp forests, deGruy acts as producer, writer and director of photography. The film has won several International Awards and was produced for National Geographic Television.
Along with talented partners Paul Atkins and Grace Niska-Atkins, deGruy creates incredibly informative and visually exciting films about nature underwater. Check the SBIFF website periodically to see if new screening times are posted. Admission is free!
-Grace Piro Delia