Margaret Brown’s documentary The Great Invisible was presented on Sunday at the SXSW Festival. The Great Invisible documents the behind the scenes of what happened during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Explosion in the Gulf of Mexico and the continuing aftermath of it. The documentary follows the life of food-bank volunteer Roosevelt Harris, as he explains and delivers supplies to the residents of the explosion.
Considered one of the worst oil spills in American history, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion killed eleven workers and devastated the residents of Mobile, Alabama – now nicknamed “Hard Luck City” – consisting of a rundown encampment of RVs, tents and shacks with families still being affected by the aftermath of the explosion. While once prominently mentioned in the newspaper, eventually the media moved onto different topics leaving the people to pick up the pieces.
Director Brown, who was also the Peabody Award winner for the documentary feature: The Order of the Myths, is a well known for her documentaries. She has received the Truer than Fiction Award at the 2009 Independent Spirit Awards in addition to being nominated for Best Documentary. Her first feature Be Here to Love Me: Townes Van Zandt was released theatrically worldwide. Brown is also a recipient of the 2012 U.S. Artists fellowship.
The Great Invisible is one of the first documentary features to go past the media coverage from 2010 and explore the oil crisis through the differing perspectives of oil executives, survivors and the Gulf Coast residents who all experienced it first-hand.
John DeFore, reviewing for The Hollywood Reporter, talks about how powerful the documentary is in exploring the disastrous oil spill.
As we approach the fourth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Margaret Brown takes us back to the Gulf Coast with ‘The Great Invisible,’ a powerful documentary that reminds those of us who’ve moved on to other worries that this one is far from finished … Brown has an eye for character, and her film is distinctive in part for its willingness to dwell in the margins instead of cramming in as many eyewitnesses and experts as she can find.
The Great Invisible won the top documentary prize this week at the SXSW Film Fest.