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National Geographic's Strange Days on Planet Earth
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About the Producers

Mark Shelley, Sea Studios Foundation

Mark Shelley is a Founder and the Executive Director of Sea Studios Foundation, a nonprofit team of filmmakers, scientists and social entrepreneurs, united by common passion to inspire a healthy and sustainable future.

Sea Studios Foundation is the culmination of Shelley’s lifelong ambition to harness the power of film-making to spotlight some of the most pressing issues of our times – from climate change to invasive species, from the loss of biological diversity to the loss of large predators and landscape fragmentation, and the vital role of our ocean in Earth’s life support systems. A visionary, and a passionate advocate for issues affecting our planet’s health, Shelley strongly believes that the first step towards inspiring action is to help the public appreciate the science that underlies our understanding of the earth’s systems.

With Shelley at the helm, Sea Studios Foundation has developed a unique capacity to identify issues that need public attention, and create compelling visual narratives that educate, inspire, and lead people to action. A producer of many award-winning films, Sea Studios Foundation is best known for its award-winning National Geographic prime-time series, The Shape of Life, and Strange Days on Planet Earth, hosted by Edward Norton and Shelley, as the executive producer. Shelley’s vision shaped Strange Days on Planet Earth into a unique production that integrates cutting-edge research, state of the art graphics and globe spanning investigations, all presented as a high-tech detective story, with a rich web experience, a set of related multi-media deliverables, programs in science centers around the nation, and a series of live public events. The goal is to engage the many different audiences in understanding how our environment is changing and why, and to inspire a healthy and sustainable future. Now in production is Season Two, with specific focus on the vital role of the ocean in our lives and the dangerously declining trends in our ocean’s health.

Shelley graduated from Stanford University (B.Sc., 1972) with honors in Biology and conducted research at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for two years. Prior to beginning his film career, Shelley was Program Director of Oceanics School, which ran academic programs on traditional square-rigged sailing ships. While freelancing in New York City, Shelley had the opportunity to work on his first National Geographic Specials, which launched his filmmaking career. As a National Geographic filmmaker and Senior Series Producer Shelley has been part of numerous award-winning exhibit and television programs. He is internationally recognized for his underwater filmmaking skills and has developed deep sea imaging systems for (amongst others) National Geographic Television and Film and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Shelley is an expert diver, submersible pilot, an airplane pilot with an instrument rating, and an aspiring sustainable farmer. He lives a very rural life with his wife Elizabeth, daughter Lucy and dog Phoenix.


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