The Sagebrush Sea

The Place in Between,” “The Big Empty,” “Flyover Country” — it goes by many bleak names, but North America’s iconic sagebrush steppe is far more than the forgotten backdrop of a Hollywood western — it is the planet’s only home for a deceptively subtle ecosystem: a vast wilderness spanning 250,000 square miles which, at second glance, is brimming with hardy life. But despite its size, this veritable sea of sagebrush is a fragmented landscape with a tenuous future. As we begin to leave our mark here, wringing profit from the land, the marks of other lives more ancient — the cascading songs of sage thrashers, the otherworldly booming of strutting grouse, or the widely-spaced tracks of a Pronghorn’s sprint — are at risk of fading away.

Produced over three years by a team of biologists and filmmakers from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and narrated by wildlife filmmaker Allison Argo, The Sagebrush Sea is a portrait of this ecosystem, as seen through the eyes of an increasingly rare bird and its wild neighbors.

  • Alison Argo
    The Secret Live of Cats, Urban Gorilla,
  • Marc Dantzker
  • Marc Dantzker
  • John Bowman
  • Gerrit Vyn
  • Allison Argo
  • Alison Argo
    Key Cast
  • Conservation Media, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
    Created By
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Television
  • Runtime:
    52 minutes 14 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 15, 2015
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital 4K, Red, Sony F55,
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • PBS Nature

    May 20, 2015
    North American Premiere
Director Biography

Marc Dantzker joined the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in 2001 as the first curator of video. Before that, he was working on a PhD on Sage Grouse (the subject of this film) at the University of California, San Diego, a degree he finally defend in 2014. Marc began producing short-form films for the Lab's new visitor center and caught the filmmaking bug. Since then he's produced science shorts, multimedia websites, educational DVDs, and conservation films. The Sagebrush Sea is his first broadcast length film and first to be broadcast.

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