National Geographic Announce New Documentary About Acclaimed Scientist Carl Sagan
National Geographic Documentary Films has announced that Fuzzy Door’s Seth MacFarlane and Erica Huggins, Emmy and Peabody winner Ann Druyan and Academy Award nominee Nanette Burstein will produce the upcoming UNTITLED CARL SAGAN DOCUMENTARY, a film about the acclaimed scientist whose groundbreaking and award-winning work helped to shape our understanding of the cosmos and human existence. Burstein will also direct. The film will also be produced under the production company Hungry Man.
Serving as an intimate and cinematic portrait of Sagan, the UNTITLED CARL SAGAN DOCUMENTARY will explore his love story with partner Ann Druyan and with science. The film will include exclusive audio recordings, archival clips and animation, along with interviews with his family, friends and colleagues. With the full support of Sagan’s family and friends, the film will present a fascinating look into the life and career of one of the world’s most inspiring and revolutionizing scientists of our time. The UNTITLED CARL SAGAN DOCUMENTARY will be available exclusively on National Geographic Channels and Disney+. A release date has not been set.
Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president of Documentary Films for National Geographic, said in a statement:
“Carl Sagan was a groundbreaking and revolutionary scientist who decoded the complexity of the cosmos and made planetary science accessible and relevant to audiences around the world. We are so excited to work with Nanette, Ann and Fuzzy Door to bring Sagan’s pioneering work and compelling personal story to a new generation of admirers.”
Carl Sagan (1934-1996) was the director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University and played a leading role in the American space program since its inception. He was a consultant and adviser to NASA since the 1950s, briefed the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon, and was an experimenter on the Mariner, Viking, Voyager and Galileo planetary expeditions. He helped solve the mysteries of the high temperatures of Venus (answer: a massive greenhouse effect), the seasonal changes on Mars (answer: windblown dust), and the reddish haze of Titan (answer: complex organic molecules).
For his work, Dr. Sagan received the NASA medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and the NASA Apollo Achievement Award. He was also a recipient of the highest award of the National Academy of Sciences. A Pulitzer Prize winner for the book “The Dragons of Eden: Speculations of the Evolution of Human Intelligence,” Dr. Sagan was the author of many bestsellers, including “Cosmos,” which became the bestselling science book ever published in English. In their posthumous award to Dr. Sagan of their highest honor, the National Science Foundation declared that his “research transformed planetary science … his gifts to mankind were infinite.”
Executive producer and Sagan’s life partner Ann Druyan said in a statement:
“Carl’s life is a multidimensional epic. He was a pathfinder in the sciences and a force in the culture, articulating the numinous wonder of a science-based sense of the sacred. He is one of the greatest awakeners in our history, and I feel that with Nanette, Fuzzy Door, Hungry Man and Nat Geo, I now have the right partners to tell his thrilling story,” said Ann Druyan.
Director Nanette Burstein also said:
“Two things that most impacted my childhood were the death of my grandmother and reading Carl Sagan. Carl shaped how I view the world in the most fundamental ways. I am thrilled to be embarking on this trippy and poignant filmmaking journey, which has been an abiding passion.”
Nanette Burstein began her documentary career directing the award-winning film “On the Ropes,” which received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary, won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance, and received the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement. Shortly after, she co-directed the award-winning Robert Evans biography, “The Kid Stays in the Picture.” She produced and directed the five-part documentary series “Say it Loud: Black Music in America” with Quincy Jones, and executive produced VH1’s “Rock Doc NY77: The Coolest Year in Hell,” which was nominated for two Emmy Awards. Continuing her success in the documentary field, her film “American Teen” earned the Documentary Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival and “The Price of Gold,” an ESPN “30 for 30” on Tonya Harding, won an Emmy and Best Documentary at the Cinema Eye Awards. In 2016, she directed the feature documentary for Showtime “Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee,” about the eccentric millionaire implicated in a murder. In 2020, she directed the four-part series, “Hillary,” about Hillary Clinton that earned the Critics’ Choice Award and an Emmy nomination. She recently completed the three-part documentary series “Killer Sally,” which aired on Netflix in November. Nanette is also an award-winning director of scripted films, television and commercials.
Are you looking forward to watching a documentary about Carl Sagan? Let us know on social media!