The Great Invisible

The Great Invisible

About the Film

On April 20, 2010, communities throughout the Gulf Coast of the United States were devastated by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, a state-of-the-art offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico drilling a well owned in majority by BP. The blast killed 11 of the 126 crewmembers and injured many more, setting off a fireball that was seen 35 miles away. After burning for two days, the Deepwater Horizon sank, precipitating the largest offshore oil spill in American history. MORE

The spill flowed unabated for almost three months, dumping hundreds of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic ocean, shutting down the local fishing industry, polluting the fragile ecosystem, and raising serious questions about the safety of continued deep-water offshore drilling. In the wake of the disaster, media coverage often overlooked the human stories in the aftermath — those who survived or lost their lives on the rig, and the ordinary citizens of the Gulf Coast whose livelihoods were damaged.

For The Great Invisible, filmmaker Margaret Brown traveled to small towns and major cities across Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas to explore the fallout of the environmental disaster. Years later, Gulf state residents still haunted by the Deepwater Horizon explosion provide first-hand accounts of their ongoing experience, long after the story has faded from the front page.

The “great invisible” that gives the film its title is still out there — the unseen crude that sunk to the ocean floor, the unanswered questions about the consequences of oil consumption on a massive scale, and the forgotten people whose lives were forever changed by the disaster.


The Filmmaker

Margaret Brown, Producer/Director

Headshot of The Great Invisible director Margaret Brown.A native of Mobile, Alabama, filmmaker Margaret Brown's The Great Invisible premiered at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival where it won the Documentary Competition's Grand Jury Prize. Radius-TWC distributed the film to rave reviews in the fall of 2014. Brown received the 2010 Peabody Award for her second documentary feature, The Order of Myths (Independent Lens, 2009). The film also received the Truer Than Fiction Award at the 2009 Independent Spirit Awards and was nominated for Best Documentary. Previously, Brown was the recipient of the Cinematic Vision Award at the 2008 Silverdocs Film Festival and won the 2008 Grierson Sheffields Youth Jury Award. She has been nominated for four Cinema Eye awards including Best Documentary and Best Director. Brown’s first feature was the acclaimed documentary Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and received worldwide theatrical distribution. Brown is the recipient of a 2012 United States Artists fellowship. LESS

Film Credits

A Film by
Margaret Brown

Produced and Directed by
Margaret Brown

Original Music
David Wingo

Edited by
Robin Schwartz
Tyler Hubby

Jeffrey Peixoto
Adam Stone
Jody Lee Lipes

Executive Producers
Jeff Skoll
Diane Weyermann
John Battsek

Produced by
Jason Orans
Julie Goldman

Pamela Ryan
Kyle Martin
Joshua Penn

Co-Executive Producers
Chris Mattsson
Nicole Stott

Associate Producer
Louis Black

For Participant Media
Jim Berk
Jeff Ivers
Kathy Jones
Buffy Shutt

Field Producers
Brad Payne
Brooke Butner
Paul Jarrett

Consulting Editor
Geoffrey Richman, A.C.E.

Additional Editors
Sasha P. Freedman
Rachel Shuman

First Assistant Editor
Alex Howell Robinson

Post-Production Supervisor
Lisa Dennis

Additional Photography
PJ Raval
Joe Anderson
Nick Bentgen
Wyatt Garfield

First Assistant Camera
E.J. Enriquez
Andrew Olsen
David Regan
Zachary W. Sprague

Sam Wootton

Seumas Mcacy

Production Sound Mixers
Micah Bloomberg
Peter Townsend

Additional Production Sound Mixers
Jonathan Berguno
Tim Dallesandro
Julius A. Evans
Chris Gebert
Jeffrey J. Hartwick
Justin Hennard
Morgan Hobart
Sean O'Malley
Spence Palermo
Ryan Putz
James Eck Rippie
Royce Sharp

Key Production Assistant
Gideon C. Kennedy

Production Coordinator
Lauren Franklin

Production Accountant
Pamela Ryan

Supervising Assistant Editor
Lauren Barker

Map Animation
Big Film Design

Still Photo Research
Searchworks Rights and Clearances

Titles Design

Digital Paint Artist
Andy Mower

DI Colorist
Alastor Pan Arnold

Main Title Card Concept
Karen Nichols

DI Producer
Pamela Scott-Farr

DI Coordinators
Kelley HW Moore
Jose Avitia

I/O Supervisor
David Rosenthal

Account Executive
Ray Morfino

Re-Recording Mixer
Leslie Shatz

Sound Designer
Leslie Shatz

Supervising Sound Editor
Christopher Eakins

Sound Effects Editors
Gabriel J. Serrano
Makenzie Kellerman

Assistant Sound Editors
Jesse Ehredt
Art Espinosa

Mix Recordist
Timothy Limer

Lead Researcher
Jamie Dobie

Additional Research
Alana Pryor Ackerman
Graeme Butler
Tad Denson
Aisha Elkheshin
Gideon C. Kennedy
Rex New

Research Consulting
Anne Davis

Lisa Margonelli

Archival Producer
Amilca Palmer

Additional Archival Research
Rosemary Rotondi
Sofia Santana

Production Counsel
Steven C. Schechter

Additional Counsel
Peter Jaszi
Victoria S. Cook

Completion Guarantor
Film Finances, Inc.

Production Insurance
Reiff & Associates, LLC

Distribution Advisor
Josh Braun

In Order of Appearance
Bill Sessions
Doug Brown
Keith Jones and the Jones Family
Stephen Stone
Kenneth Feinberg
Daphne Davis German
Roosevelt Harris
Frances Johnson
Wendy Rosendale
Virgil Allen
Brenda, Ivy, and June Guillot
Kirstine, Grace, Zachary, and Annemarie Campbell
Latham Smith
Bob Cavnar
Brent Coon
Hal Mcwhorter
Paul Lynch
Steve Wyatt
Nick Florescu
Kamyar Pahlavi
Sheila Hagler
Katie Aspen Gavenus
Chandler Collier
Nikki Hiang
Taylor Roebuck
Robyn Braswell
Edward Lyons
Wendy Martin
Bryant St. Amant
Dorothy St. Amant
Chris Payne
Sara Lattis Stone
Meccah Boynton-brown
Jim Oden
Marty Power

Archival Footage and Images Courtesy of
ABCNews Videosource
AP Archive
Copyright © 2012 Delorme Publishing Company. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2012 National Geographic Maps. All Rights Reserved.
Reproduced From the Gebco Digital Atlas Published by the British Oceanographic Data Centre on Behalf of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (of UNESCO) and the International Hydrographic Organization, 2003.
U.S. Geological Survey
Science Photo Library / Photolibrary Video / Getty Images
Enrique A. Guerrero
1970 Oil Rig Footage Created by David Hoffman - Filmmaker
IITN Source / Reuters
NBC Universal Archives
NHNZ Moving Images
U.S. Coast Guard

Additional Footage, Images and Audio
Ryan Chaisson
Democracy Now!
Antti Jylkkä
U.S. Air Force
U.S. Department Of Energy
WALA-TV Fox 10 - Mobile, AL
WKRG News 5 - Mobile, AL
WPMI-TV Local 15 - Mobile, AL
WWL AM 870 / FM 105.3 - New Orleans, LA
WWLTv - New Orleans, LA

Original Score Engineered and Recorded by
David Wingo

Alexis Buffum

Special Thanks
Diane Austin
Char Bar
Aaron Blount
Danielle Boiardi
Adam Bonsib
Kim And Nolan Bourg
Margaret Luce Brown
Caryn Capotosto
Beth Chrisman
Suzanne Cleveland
Lee Cohen
Pamela Colloff
Heather Courtney
Virginia Donovan
Justin Dragonas
Elizabeth Dunnebacke
Jesse Ebaugh
Ted Falgout
Gear Cameras & Lighting
Hefly's Bar
Adam Kovacs
Liz Lambert
Fran Lohr
John Nova Lomax
Peter Maass
Rhonda Mayfield
Jonathan Mchugh
John David Mercer
Mopac Media
Donal Mosher
Cynthia And David Nelson
Morgan Neville
Michael O'connell
Stephen Ozenovich
Michael Palmieri
Martine Phelan-roberts
Phimmasone Michael Rattanasengchan
Bob Remmer
Natalie Ribbons
Yamal Said
Stewart Shea
Enat Sidi
Steven Souriyadeth
Adam Spielberg
Paul Stekler
David Teague
Paul Templet
TM Motion Picture Equipment Rentals
Steve Tollen
Dao X. Tran
Sharon Downy Varner
Laurie Vining
Lawrence Wright
Darrisha Zirlott

Dedicated to Milton Brown

Fiscal Sponsors
Women Make Movies, Inc.
Austin Film Society
Co-executive Producer For Passion Pictures
Andrew Ruhemann

Production Executive for Passion Pictures
George Chignell

Production Executives for Motto Pictures
Chris Clements
Carolyn Hepburn

Production Associate for Motto Pictures
Sean Lyness

For Gigantic Pictures
Brian Devine
Brooke Devine

Supervising Producer for ITVS
Amy Shatsky

Senior Series Producer for ITVS
Lois Vossen

Executive Producer for ITVS
Sally Jo Fifer

Funding for This Program Provided by

Media Programme of the European Union
Whole Foods Market/AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Grant
Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund
Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program

Chicken & Egg Pictures

The Great Invisible is a co-production of 7 & 7 Films, LLC, Gigantic Pictures, Passion Pictures, Motto Pictures, and Independent Television Service
(ITVS), in Association with Participant Media, with Partial Funding Providing by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

This Program was produced by 7 & 7 Films, LLC, which Is solely responsible for its content.

© 2014, Oil Documentary LLC. All Rights Reserved.

This motion picture is protected under the laws of the United States and other countries. Unauthorized duplication, distribution, or exhibition may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution.

Aside from BP, who else do you think is to blame for a disastrous oil spill like this one? Has your community ever been affected by an environmental disaster? If so, did it change your beliefs or lifestyle?
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Aside from BP, who else do you think is to blame for a disastrous oil spill like this one? Has your community ever been affected by an environmental disaster? If so, did it change your beliefs or lifestyle?