In a rare move, PBS will simulcast a documentary that takes an inside look at the Deepwater Horizon environmental crisis on the fifth anniversary of the disaster, another example of TV networks testing new techniques to gain broader distribution for content.
Directed by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Margaret Brown, “The Great Invisible” weaves personal stories, insight from industry insiders, and news footage of the disaster and its aftermath to offer an emotional look at the people still haunted by the explosion long after the story has faded. “The Great Invisible” premieres on “Independent Lens” on PBS and on Pivot, Participant Media’s television network, on the fifth anniversary of the disaster, Monday, April 20, 2015.
On April 20, 2010, a disastrous explosion took place on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil-drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 of the rig’s 126 crew members and setting off a fireball that could be seen 35 miles away. After two days ablaze, 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 in the ocean.
The director, a Mobile, Alabama native, traveled to small towns and cities across Alabama, Louisiana and Texas to explore the effects of the disaster on the people of the region. Eyewitnesses provide first-hand accounts of the tragedy, ranging from the moment of the explosion to lingering after effects.
PBS executives could not pinpoint the last time the network allowed for a simulcast of one of its programs.
Pivot, a network that attempts to galvanize its viewership to take part in making social change, has worked with Univision in the past on projects that involved running content that appears on networks owned by both companies.