Great Invisible

Crew members, families, fishermen, and others still haunted by the Deepwater Horizon explosion provide first-hand accounts of their experience.

Film Signature Image
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
April 20, 2015
90 minutes
Funding Initiative
Series and Special Projects
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2015 Primetime Emmy Awards-Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2014 South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW)-Grand Jury Award
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2014 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival-Nicholas School Environmental Award
  • Producer/Director

    Margaret Brown

    Margaret Brown is the producer and director of the acclaimed documentary, Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt, which was released in the United States by Palm Pictures and received worldwide theatrical distribution in 2005. Be Here to Love Me premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, was the opening night film at North America’s premier Show more documentary film festival, Full Frame and the closing night film at the Nashville Film Festival. Brown directed the music video Our Life is not a Movie or Maybe for Okkervil River and she produced Catpower’s Living Proof video, directed by Harmony Korine. She also produced Six Miles of Eight Feet, which won a Student Academy Award in 2000. Brown was the cinematographer for Ice Fishing, which received a special jury prize from Sundance in 2000; she received the Néstor Almendros Award for cinematography from the NYU graduate film program. The short film she directed while at NYU, 99 Threadwaxing, starred Justin Kirk and Heather Burns and was screened at film festivals across the country. She produced the narrative feature film Mi Amigo, released in 2006 by ThinkFilm and starring Josh Holloway of Lost. Brown earned her BA from Brown University in creative writing and her MFA in film from New York University. Show less

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    Jason Orans

    Independent Spirit, Image, and Emmy Award-nominee Jason Orans is a producer of scripted films, docuseries, and documentaries. Projects include: Mafia Tapes for Discovery, Charm Circle and The Great Invisible, Ramin Bahrani's Goodbye Solo, Blood Kin, and Plastic Bag, and Dare starring Emmy Rossum and Rooney Mara.

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    Pamela Ryan

    Pamela Ryan produces documentaries, scripted films, and podcasts. Her projects include: Mafia Tapes for Discovery, Ramin Bahrani’s Blood Kin, Night School, and Margaret Brown’s Emmy Award-nominated The Great Invisible, along with award-winning independent features. Pamela was selected as an Impact Partners Documentary Producing Fellow.

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    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 operated by BP in the Gulf of Mexico. The blast killed 11 of 126 rig crewmembers and injured many more, setting off a fireball that was seen 35 miles away. After burning for two days, the Deepwater Horizon sank, causing the largest offshore oil spill in American history. 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.

    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.