Five years ago today, on April 20, 2010, the Gulf Coast was devastated by the explosion and aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon, a state-of-the-art offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The blast killed 11 of the 126 crew members and injured many more, and caused the largest offshore oil spill in American history. The spill dumped 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.
The documentary film The Great Invisible takes audiences to small towns and major cities across Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas to explore the fallout from this 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 premieres tonight at 10/9c on Independent Lens on PBS. Check your local listings.