About Tangled Bank Studios

Tangled Bank Studios, LLC, is a production company dedicated to the creation of original science documentaries for broadcast, theatrical, and digital distribution. Founded in 2012 by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as an extension of its longstanding science education mission, the company aims to produce programs that capture compelling stories of discovery. Recent productions include  the award-winning three-part PBS series Your Inner Fish; the NOVA special Vaccines-Calling the Shots; and Mass Extinction: Life at the Brink, which aired on Smithsonian Channel. 

Headquartered in Chevy Chase, MD, Tangled Bank Studios partners with producers, broadcasters, and distributors around the world. We develop ideas for our films internally and also receive them from outside producers, broadcasters, and scientists. Once we agree to pursue a project, we provide funding and editorial expertise, with the goal of achieving critical, journalistic, and broadcast success. We consider each film the cornerstone of a larger project, whose impact is extended through partnerships with other nonprofit organizations and the creation of formal classroom content. 


With the frontiers of knowledge moving forward every day, there has never been a more important time to bring science to a global audience. For us, the ideal production is one that:

Tackles new and important science We’re looking for films that break new ground, provide a new perspective, and help viewers make sense of what’s going on in the world of science.
Is highly entertaining We place a premium on immersive, compelling and dramatic storytelling. 
Brings science to life We believe the process of scientific discovery is inherently compelling, and our goal is to share that drama. We want our audience to understand not just what we know but how we know it. 
Is visually inventive We’re looking for stories that can be told in new ways, and we aim to support the pioneering use of imaging technologies to bring hidden worlds to life.
Has lasting impact Our productions match a powerful initial broadcast or theatrical release with effective outreach.
Inspires a sense of wonder We want our audiences to get immersed in our stories and be inspired with a sense of amazement and wonder. 

Standards of Excellence

Our goal is to produce science journalism of the highest caliber. This means that we aspire to excellence in the following ways:

  • Excellence in explanatory journalism. We aim to help audiences grasp even the most difficult scientific concepts by explaining them in clear, accessible, and accurate terms.
  • Excellence in journalistic practice. We adhere to the highest principles of journalism and journalistic ethics, including the need for fairness, accuracy, balance, and honesty in dealing with sources and the avoidance of conflicts of interest.
  • Excellence in the craft of filmmaking. Working with producers, broadcasters, and distributors, we seek to inspire the creation of beautifully crafted films and the use of innovative visual and storytelling techniques.

For more detail, please see our Guide to Standards and Practices.

Honors and Awards

Since its launch in 2012, Tangled Bank Studios has garnered several of the most distinguished awards for science journalism and film, including Jackson Hole Science and Media Awards, the Wildscreen Special Jury Award, and the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award for in-depth reporting. Awards juries have commended our projects for being “clever, witty and imaginatively crafted” and for having “loads of science, including how it’s done.”