National Geographic

DEEPSEA CHALLENGE

Tribute to Andrew & Mike

DEEPSEA CHALLENGE producer and director Andrew Wight, James Cameron’s documentary producing partner, and noted underwater cinematographer and marine conservationist Mike deGruy died in a helicopter crash in Australia on February 4, 2012. Wight had been piloting his R-44 helicopter to capture images from the air. Wight had partnered with Cameron on five prior films and co-led six previous expeditions over a 12-year period. DeGruy had also participated in previous expeditions with Cameron. This page is dedicated to their contributions to the world of natural history filmmaking, which spanned four decades.

See a statement by James Cameron and National Geographic

Remembering Filmmaker Mike deGruy

Photograph by Brook Rushton
Underwater cinematographer Mike deGruy

Mike was a levity maker. He could find the humor in anything, especially the critical, urgent, deadline-driven stuff. He knew that being lighthearted gives the moment unexpected radiance. He was always ready with his easy smile, quick wit, and self-deprecating humor.

He embodied “warrior’s honor,” that rare blend of honesty, integrity, and loyalty. It was expressed in his profound sense of responsibility to his family, his friends, the ocean, and his deep-sea brothers and sisters. It was evident in the off-the-cuff, unrehearsed things he did—the way he asked questions about the dive plan; his confidence in everyone to complete the task no matter how daunting. The unspoken message was that if you kept your end of the bargain he would take care of you. There were moments when his words had the mark of nobility. —Dr. Joe MacInnis

Remembering Filmmaker Andrew Wight

Photograph by Brook Rushton
Filmmaker Andrew Wight

Andrew was a great leader. When adversity took a swipe at his projects, he offered his hard-won advice and buoyant wit. He knew that people who laugh well together work well together. A man of unlimited generosity, he had an intuitive grasp of his team’s anxieties, moods, and needs. Years of experience taught him that the best teams are bound together by professional skills and a fusion of friendships supported by random and excessive acts of kindness. One of his finest leadership skills was to provide that kindness. —Dr. Joe MacInnis

Science Partners

  • Additional major support provided by The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • University of Guam