[06/24/24 - 10:15 AM]
National Geographic Partners with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Documentaries, Nedland Media and Wendy Benchley to Produce "Jaws @ 50" (wt)
In collaboration with ocean conservation and marine policy advocate Wendy Benchley and branding and communications specialist Laura A. Bowling, the film will capture our endless fascination with sharks and the changing dialogue about these awe-inspiring creatures.

[via press release from National Geographic Content]


Fifty Years After the Blockbuster Film and Bestselling Novel Shocked the World & Ignited a Fascination with Sharks and the Ocean, JAWS @ 50 (WT) To Air Summer 2025 on National Geographic and Stream on Disney+ and Hulu

(WASHINGTON, D.C. - JUNE 24, 2024) On the heels of the 50th anniversary of the bestselling book by Peter Benchley that went on to become a record-breaking box-office sensation from director Steven Spielberg, National Geographic announced today the greenlight of JAWS @ 50 (working title), in partnership with Amblin Documentaries' Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, Nedland Media's Laurent Bouzereau and Markus Keith, Wendy Benchley, and Laura A. Bowling. Bouzereau directs the feature documentary, which will include footage and photography from the Benchley and Spielberg archives and all-new interviews from the worlds of film, literature, pop culture and ocean conservation.

In collaboration with ocean conservation and marine policy advocate Wendy Benchley and branding and communications specialist Laura A. Bowling, the film will capture our endless fascination with sharks and the changing dialogue about these awe-inspiring creatures. In celebration of the film's 50th anniversary, JAWS @ 50 (working title) will air in Summer 2025 on National Geographic and stream on Disney+ and Hulu as part of Sharkfest, Nat Geo's signature summer event.

The behind-the-scenes stories of the book's writing and the legendary tumultuous production of the film - including being over budget, over schedule, malfunctioning mechanical sharks, weather issues and sea sickness - will serve as the spine of the documentary. JAWS @ 50 (working title) will explore the world and impact of sharks today through testimonials from people who have dedicated their lives to studying and safeguarding sharks and our seas. "Jaws" gave rise to a new generation of shark aficionados, many ocean scientists, researchers, explorers, activists and die-hard fans. These experts have deepened our curiosity and understanding of sharks beyond what Benchley and Spielberg could have imagined.

"National Geographic has celebrated sharks for over two decades with our annual summer event Sharkfest, so we naturally jumped at the chance to partner with Amblin Documentaries and Nedland Media on JAWS @ 50," said Janet Han Vissering, senior vice president, Production and Development, National Geographic. "'Jaws' not only became a massive pop culture phenomenon, but the initial fear it elicited propelled the world's fascination with sharks, opening the door to our understanding of these apex predators and stressing the urgency in protecting our oceans."

"'Jaws,' the novel by Peter Benchley and the film by Steven Spielberg, defined both popular literature and cinema," said Darryl Frank / Justin Falvey, President's Amblin Documentaries and Amblin Television. "The idea of diving into the past, present and future legacy of 'Jaws,' combined with an informed and inspiring discussion about sharks and the ocean in one documentary, is a unique opportunity to explore the perfect union between art and science."

"Jaws" was a thrilling bestseller, and the film was arguably the first summer blockbuster. Both continue attracting new fans and inspiring generations of book, film and ocean lovers. JAWS @ 50 (working title) will create a thrilling sense of discovery, showcasing a new generation of ocean scientists and explorers who help us better understand sharks and deepen our understanding of their vital role in a healthy ocean. Ultimately, alongside Wendy Benchley and others, we will invite audiences to fall in love and rethink their perceptions of sharks in today's world.

For National Geographic, JAWS @ 50 (working title) will be produced by Amblin Documentaries and Nedland Media in collaboration with executive producers Wendy Benchley and Bowling and directed by Bouzereau. For Amblin Documentaries, Frank and Falvey are executive producers. For Nedland Media, Bouzereau and Keith are executive producers. For National Geographic, Ted Duvall is the executive producer; Vissering is the senior vice president of Production and Development; and Tom McDonald is the executive vice president of Global Factual and Unscripted Content.

# # #

About Amblin Documentaries

Amblin Documentaries is a division of Amblin Partners, a content creation company led by Steven Spielberg. Presidents, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey oversee all development, production, and programming for Amblin Documentaries. In addition to its award-winning, culture-defining work in the scripted space through Amblin Television, Amblin Documentaries is a producer of renowned documentary features and series such as the film "Good Night Oppy" for Prime Video - which was nominated for seven Prime Time and News and Documentary Emmys, the Emmy-winning series "Five Came Back" for Netflix, and "Laurel Canyon - A Place in Time" - which received three Emmy nominations including Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special for its portrayal of the music scene in LA's Laurel Canyon in the 60's and 70's.

Most recently, Amblin Documentaries produced "Life on Our Planet," "Encounters," and "Big Vape: The Rise and Fall of Juul" for Netflix as well as "San Francisco Sound" for MGM+. Upcoming projects from Amblin Documentaries include "Faye," based on the life and career of Faye Dunaway, which premiered at this years Cannes Film Festival, "Bodyguard of Lies," with the Washington Post & Alex Gibney, "Wild, Wild Space," with HyperObject Industries & ZPZ, and, in partnership with Imagine Entertainment, a documentary on the life and work of legendary composer John Williams.

Amblin Documentaries also produced "Strokes of Genius" - the double-Emmy nominated film about the epic rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal; and "The Contender" - in which Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard give 16 young boxing hopefuls a shot at the big time, and which received two Emmy nominations. Other unscripted Amblin Documentaries productions include "Letters to Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy" and HBO's "Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind" and "Mama's Boy: A Story from Our Americas.

About Nedland Media

Laurent Bouzereau is an award-winning filmmaker and best-selling author. His films, which he co-produced with his partner Markus Keith through their production company Nedland Media, include the feature documentary Faye about legendary actress Faye Dunaway for HBO/Amblin, the upcoming event documentary on John Williams, produced by Steven Spielberg and Amblin/Imagine, the Disney+/Lucasfilm documentary Timeless Heroes on Harrison Ford, the HBO feature documentaries Mama's Boy, based on the best-selling memoir by Dustin Lance Black, and Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind, as well as the acclaimed Netflix series Five Came Back (with an Emmy winning narration by Meryl Streep), executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Amblin. Bouzereau is the author of several books on cinema, including Spielberg: The First Ten Years (2023) and The De Palma Decade (2024).

About Wendy Benchley

Wendy Benchley is a renowned global voice for protecting sharks and safeguarding our seas. As a scuba diver, she has witnessed dramatic changes to our ocean's wildlife and habitats; this has motivated her vigorous efforts to help shape smarter, stronger environmental and marine policies with government officials, NGOs, and other civic leaders. Based in Washington, D.C., Wendy is actively engaged in the marine policy community and supports many of the world's leading ocean & environmental philanthropies. She plays a prominent leadership role and is actively involved, as a Board member, in WildAid's highly effective and widely respected global work that reduces the demand for illegal wildlife products, including ivory, rhino horn, and shark fin. She is a Board Member of Beneath the Waves and Blue Frontier Campaign. She is also a Trustee on EDF's Advisory Board.

About Laura A. Bowling

Laura is a branding and strategic communications executive who has successfully led interdisciplinary creative teams for 25 years, delivering award-winning campaigns across all media platforms from corporate and nonprofit arenas. Laura has worked with some of the world's most successful companies and prestigious brands, including Procter & Gamble, Ogilvy (N.Y.C.), The Walt Disney Company, and Conservation International, where she served as Chief Marketing Officer. Laura has a deep passion for protecting the environment and social causes. She oversees a successful consulting business, based in Carmel, California, that focuses on branding, strategic communications, and development for nonprofits. She has worked closely with Wendy Benchley on all aspects of branding for the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards and on Wendy's public speaking and ocean advocacy events, publications, and press.

About National Geographic Content

Award-winning and critically acclaimed National Geographic Content, part of a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and the National Geographic Society, creates and delivers riveting stories and experiences in natural history, science, adventure and exploration. The brand is the largest on social media with over three quarters of a billion followers across all major platforms that generate over one billion impressions each month. Inspiring a deeper connection to the world, National Geographic Content reaches 300 million people worldwide in 180 countries and 33 languages as a digital, social and print publisher and across the global National Geographic channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO), National Geographic Documentary Films, and direct-to-consumer platforms Disney+ and Hulu. Its diverse content includes Emmy(R) Award-winning franchise Genius, series Life Below Zero and Secrets of the Whales, and Oscar(R)- and BAFTA award-winning film Free Solo. In 2022, National Geographic Content was awarded eight News and Documentary Emmys, in addition to Life Below Zero's Emmy win for Outstanding Cinematography for a Reality Program, its sixth Emmy overall. For more information, visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or follow Nat Geo on Facebook, X, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

  [june 2024]  

(series past and present)
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