The judges noted the thoroughness and timely production of the hour-long NOVA program that aired within three months of the 26 December 2004 earthquake and devastating Indian Ocean tsunami that struck Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and elsewhere. “A great combination of science and human drama,” said Warren Leary of The New York Times. “A fine documentary done in a very timely manner.”
“Beyond the specifics of the scientific explanations, the production makes clear why the public needs to know ‘scientific stuff,’” said Kathy Sawyer, a freelancer formerly with The Washington Post. She called it a “powerful combination” of reporting on science and the public interest.
“Putting this film together was truly a team effort,” said Joseph McMaster, who produced the program for NOVA. “Production began almost immediately after the tsunami and continued around the clock to bring this minute-by-minute account to television as quickly as possible.” Given the magnitude of the event, he said, “I think everyone who worked on this film hoped that a piece of science journalism like this would, at the very least, help viewers make some sense of this disaster.” The program was written by Martin Williams and directed by Lara Acaster and Alex Williams.