'The Great Invisible' Wins Best Doc Award at SXSW Film Festival

The BP oil spill documentary follows the lives of those in the Gulf Coast who have been affected by one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history.

Fireboats battle the blazing remnants of the oil drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, off the coast of Louisiana, on April 21, 2010. (Photo: Reuters)

Mar 12, 2014· 0 MIN READ
Salvatore Cardoni holds a political science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.

When I interviewed filmmaker Margaret Brown in Los Angeles recently about her BP oil spill documentary, The Great Invisible, she was mostly relaxed. Glad that her latest project, which took more than three years to shoot and edit, was finally in the can, she was also slightly nervous about how it would be received during its worldwide premiere at the upcoming South by Southwest film festival. “I don’t know; I never know how people will respond,” she mused.

If the reaction of judges in Austin, Texas, is any indication, the answer is overwhelmingly positive: Last night the film took home the festival’s grand jury prize for best documentary feature.

A deeply personal endeavor for Brown, a Mobile, Ala., native, the film tracks how everyone from wealthy oilmen to impoverished fishermen was affected in the months and years after Deepwater Horizon, the Transocean-owned, BP-operated oil drilling rig, exploded 50 miles off the Louisiana coast on April 20, 2010.

That accident caused one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history, with an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico before the well was finally capped in mid-July.

The festival’s audience award winners will be announced Saturday.

TakePart’s parent company, Participant Media, is involved in the production and marketing of The Great Invisible.