About the documentary:

Making Waves: Battle for the Great Lakes is a two-hour documentary about the effects of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes and the efforts under way to control and prevent them. The film will chronicle the devastating transformation of the Great Lakes ecosystem over the last two centuries, teaching viewers about the diversity of life in the Lakes, and how they’re affected by invasive species. Viewers will learn about the battles raging both above and below the surface as the film follows researchers working on the front lines to combat, control and prevent invasives and to protect and restore native species.

Making Waves: Battle for the Great Lakes is produced by Great Lakes Media, in collaboration with Emmy-nominated Kurtis Productions. The film is fiscally sponsored by Chicago Filmmakers, 501(c)3.

Goals:  Through the documentary, the filmmakers’ aim to increase awareness & educate the public on the problems of invasive species, encourage an appreciation & understanding of the ecosystem & teach the public what it can do to help protect native life within the Lakes & prevent future invasions of non-native species.


 Making Waves: Battle for the Great Lakes is made possible in part by:

TNC Logo BoatUS Logo






Meet the filmmakers:


Brendan Walsh (Director of Photography/Producer) is the co-owner of the production company Great Lakes Media. In addition to DP’ing, producing and editing videos and productions for GLM, Brendan films independently for television shows on PBS, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, CNBC, A&E, the History Channel, FOX and TLC, including American Greed, American Greed: Fugitives, Crime Inc., Cold Case FilesInvestigating History, Escaped, and White City. Brendan’s work has taken him across the United States, as well as to Bolivia, Canada, Nicaragua, Uganda, Mexico, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and South Africa. Brendan has also worked in the camera department for major Hollywood films, including Wanted, The Breakup and The Express, and the television series Prison Break.


Jessica Walsh (Producer) is the co-owner of Great Lakes Media production company. Jessica produces, films and edits a wide range of videos and productions for GLM, from live sports to commercials.  Her career began in journalism with eight years as an editor and journalist for The Enterprise newspaper.  When The Enterprise came under new ownership, Jessica served as the assistant managing editor of Voyager Media and its nine weekly publications serving the Chicagoland suburbs. Jessica has won multiple journalism awards from the Illinois Press Association and Illinois College Press Association.



Bill Kurtis (Narrator), acclaimed journalist and documentarian, is the owner of Kurtis Productions in Chicago. For more than 40 years, Bill has produced, hosted and narrated countless television series and documentaries around the world.  Bill currently hosts the television series Decades, and is the announcer for the National Public Radio news quiz show, Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!  A former anchor for Chicago’s CBS News, he narrated the feature film comedies Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.  Bill is the recipient of numerous humanitarian, journalism and broadcasting awards including Emmys, CableACE awards, and the Thurgood Marshall Award. He is a published author and a member of the board of directors of several distinguished organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, the National Park Foundation, Chicago Green City Market, Chicago Botanic Garden and the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

Since 1990, Kurtis Productions has been producing television series and documentaries that have brought attention to some of the most compelling topics on TV. Over the years, Kurtis Productions has produced multiple series for PBS, the A&E Network and the History Channel, including Peabody Award-winning series The New Explorers; awarding-winning and long-running series Investigative Reports and Emmy-nominated Cold Case FilesInvestigating HistoryAmerican Justice; and Escaped, to name a few. Currently, Kurtis Productions produces the series American Greed for CNBC.



Why make this documentary?

Born and raised in the Chicagoland area, husband and wife team Brendan and Jessica Walsh both grew up with a love for Lake Michigan. Their passion for nature and conservation and their total awe of the Great Lakes inspired them to create a documentary about the region, but it was their proximity to one of the biggest current threats to the Great Lakes that led them to focus on invasive species. Living just a few miles from the electric barrier designed to keep Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan, they discovered that while most people had heard of the threat of Asian carp, few knew that there were other non-native species already wreaking havoc on the ecosystem. This lack of public awareness motivated Brendan and Jessica to create a film that could educate and energize citizens to do their part in the battle against invasive species.