WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, National Geographic Documentary Films 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.
“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,” said Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president of Documentary Films for National Geographic. “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.”
“Carl’s life is a multidimensional epic,” said executive producer and Sagan’s life partner Ann Druyan. “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.
“Two things that most impacted my childhood were the death of my grandmother and reading Carl Sagan,” said director Nanette Burstein. “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.
National Geographic Documentary Films previously released the Academy Award, BAFTA and seven-time Emmy Award-winning film “Free Solo” and the Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning film “The Cave.” In 2022, they released Oscar and BAFTA nominated “Fire of Love,” two-time Sundance Award-winner “The Territory,” critically acclaimed “Retrograde” as well as the short film “The Flagmakers,” all of which were shortlisted for a 2023 Academy Award. In 2021, they released BAFTA nominees “The Rescue” and “Becoming Cousteau,” and three-time Emmy Award winner “The First Wave.” Other critically acclaimed films under the banner include “Fauci”; “Torn”; Emmy-nominated “We Feed People” and “Rebuilding Paradise” from Ron Howard; Sundance Audience Award winners “Science Fair” and “Sea of Shadows”; Emmy winners “LA 92” and “Jane,” both of which were included in the top 15 documentaries considered for an Academy Award in 2017; and Dupont Award winner “Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS.”
About National Geographic Documentary Films
National Geographic Documentary Films is committed to bringing the world premium, feature documentaries that cover timely, provocative and globally relevant stories from the very best documentary filmmakers in the world. National Geographic Documentary Films is part of a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and the National Geographic Society. Our diverse films reach millions worldwide across National Geographic channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO) and direct-to-consumer platforms Disney+ and Hulu. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 135 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. Recent films include the Academy Award ® and BAFTA nominated “Fire of Love,” three-time Emmy Award winner “The First Wave,” two-time Sundance award-winner “The Territory,” BAFTA nominees “The Rescue” and “Becoming Cousteau”, and Academy Award® and BAFTA winner “Free Solo.” For more information visit films.nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
About Fuzzy Door
At 24, Seth MacFarlane became the youngest showrunner in television history with his animated hit "Family Guy". Fuzzy Door, the production company named for the fake leopard fur covered door to Seth's college dorm where the show was conceived, is an extension of that boundary breaking tradition. Dedicated to producing entertainment that shapes the social conversation in popular culture, science, music, and politics, Fuzzy Door taps into universal themes that connect with global audiences through the lens of individual experiences. These comedies, dramas, and documentaries reflect the complexities of the world's stage and capture the spirit of the 21st Century. MacFarlane and Fuzzy Door's President, Erica Huggins, have transformed the company into a production powerhouse partnering and fostering relationships with the industry’s leading talent to bring meaningful stories to life. The company’s television production slate includes the Emmy-nominated Hulu space adventure series, “The Orville,” as well as the Emmy award-winning animated series, “Family Guy,” and the fan-favorite series, “American Dad!,” which premiered its 400th and 300th milestone episodes, respectively. Building on the legacy of the beloved 1980’s documentary series “Cosmos”, Fuzzy Door produced the Peabody award-winning “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” which garnered 13 Emmy nominations and became a global event seen by more than 135 million people, and the recent critically acclaimed installment “Cosmos: Possible Worlds.” Fuzzy Door’s film work has created numerous commercially successful comedies such as TED, TED 2 and A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST, which have collectively grossed more than $800 million at the worldwide box office. Off the company’s massive success, MacFarlane and Fuzzy Door signed a multi-year television deal with Universal Studio Group, which has the company expanding the iconic TED franchise into a television series for Peacock. Fuzzy Door also recently premiered Peacock’s disaster series “The End Is Nye”, hosted by Emmy Award winner and renowned science educator Bill Nye. The company is also producing TV adaptations of the celebrated novel “All Our Wrong Todays” and the dystopian sci-fi short film “Skywatch”. Additionally, Fuzzy Door secured the rights to the highly coveted The Shrouded College, the seven-book graphic novel series from Charles Soule and Will Sliney. First up in development is the television series adaptation of Hell to Pay, which commenced publication from Image Comics last year, followed by an expansion of the universe with the second installment, The Bloody Dozen, set to publish later this year. The company’s full slate of streaming and broadcast productions also include a new animated take on Norman Lear’s classic sitcom, “Good Times,” for Netflix. With an impassioned appreciation for books and literature, Fuzzy Door is reviving classics like “The Winds of War” as a limited series based on Pulitzer Prize-winner Herman Wouk’s American War novels. Simultaneously advancing in the motion picture space, Fuzzy Door is producing a reimagined modern version of the REVENGE OF THE NERDS franchise with the Lucas Bros. for 20th Century Studios, and a remake of THE NAKED GUN for Paramount Pictures.
About Hungry Man
Hungry Man is an award-winning global production company and home to filmmakers and production executives in New York, Los Angeles, London, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo. Since its inception in 1997, Hungry Man has been nominated for multiple Academy Awards and has garnered many creative industry accolades, winning numerous Emmy Awards and hundreds of Cannes Lions.