Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Dr Gianna Savoie

GiannaSavoie1a

Lecturer

Director of Filmmaking

Email gianna.savoie@otago.ac.nz
Tel +64 3 479 4925

Dr. Gianna Savoie is an award-winning documentary producer, writer, educator, and National Geographic Explorer with two decades of experience in Science and Natural History filmmaking. Her Emmy-nominated work has been featured on PBS, NATURE, NHNZ, National Geographic, Discovery, and the BBC, as well as in theatrical documentaries and in print and web publications. Holding a Master’s Degree in Environmental Biology and a Ph.D. with a focus on Ocean Science Communication, she pairs her love of science with the art of filmmaking to craft the stories that not only inform, but deeply resonate. Her penchant for powerful environmental storytelling has led her high over Himalayan peaks, across our mighty oceans, and deep through the Amazon basin to explore the direct connections between humans and the natural world.

Gianna’s research launches from the intersection of Science, Art and Culture and she believes when the three are allowed to mingle, a potent alchemy can result. To pay it forward, she has founded and directs the Ocean Media Institute, a nonprofit global media collective that expands the public's engagement in ocean science and conservation through innovative media and artistic approaches to science communication.  In Gianna’s view, though science itself has utility and function, without story it lacks real meaning.  And in that spirit, she has made it her mission to shape the science narrative with passion and power in order to address the most critical conservation issues on the planet.

To learn more about Gianna, visit here.

And find out more about Ocean Media Institute 

Current Teaching

  • SCOM 402 The Craft of Storytelling
  • SCOM 411 Techniques of Natural History and Science Filmmaking Part 1
  • SCOM 412 Techniques of Natural History and Science Filmmaking Part 2


Research Interests

  • ocean science and conservation media
  • intersection of science, technology and Indigenous Knowledge
  • transmedia approaches to science literacy
  • redefining narrative ownership in science media
  • impact production and capacity building
  • science advocacy


Potential Postgraduate Projects

  • I Am Ocean global transmedia project that highlights underrepresented yet critical voices in ocean science and conservation
  • development of Moana Media Lab to elevate Indigenous voices in the ocean science narrative
  • Marine Pollution to Community Solution: Innovative participatory approaches to solutions-driven media
  • Ocean Media Explorers: Pairing emerging media makers with scientists on ocean expeditions
  • Open Ocean Footage Bank: Development of open-sourced footage library for ocean science researchers and communicators


Current PhD Students

  • Jessica Davis – Story First: When does inaccurate science in fiction film matter?
  • Maria Frostic – Revolutionalizing the Interpretive Centre to enhance ocean literacy

Recent Films

  • Keepers of the Shy Place (National Geographic, 2021)
  • Expedition Nautilus (PBS, 2021)
  • I am Ocean: Australia (Ocean Media Institute, 2021)
  • Tomorrow’s Fish (American Fly Fishing Trade Association/Ocean Media Institute, 2019)
  • The Shape of a River (Montana Freshwater Partners/Ocean Media Institute, 2017)
  • I Am Ocean: Hawaii (Ocean Media Institute, 2016)
  • Te Mana o Te Moana: The Pacific Voyagers (Feature Documentary, Okeanos Productions) 2016
  • Wolverine: Chasing the Phantom (Emmy-nominated film for PBS and National Geographic) 2011