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The Times-Picayune recommends 'The Great Invisible,’ centerpiece of the 2014 New Orleans Film Festival.

New Orleans Film Festival best bet: BP oil-spill doc 'Great Invisible' puts focus on human toll

The Times-Picayune  - October 20, 2014

By Mike Scott


There have been other documentaries about the BP oil spill, and there will be many more to come. But director Margaret Brown's SXSW-decorated "The Great Invisible" stands out not only for providing a comprehensive view of the 2010 disaster, but for putting it all in heartbreaking -- and sometimes infuriating -- context, as she introducing audiences to some of the people whose lives have been irrevocably changed by the spill and its aftermath. The stirring "Great Invisible" highlights today's (Oct. 20) lineup at the 2014 New Orleans Film Festival, screening as one of the festival's high-profile Centerpiece Films. Below, find more on Brown's film, as well as a handful of "Plan B" picks and the day's full schedule.

"The Great Invisible" (directed by Margaret Brown; 1 hour 32 minutes; Unrated, warrants PG, for language). We've heard all the numbers: the gallons of oil spilled in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the economic toll of that historic oil spill on the fisheries of Louisiana and other Gulf states, the amount of money still needed to repair the lingering damage. But director Margaret Brown's stirring, eye-opening documentary -- decorated with a South-by-Southwest film festival Audience Award after its world premiere there last spring -- goes beyond mere math and corporate doublespeak to chronicle the human stories behind the 2010 BP oil spill. That includes on-the-ground visits with people in Louisiana, Texas and Alabama who still are struggling with the spill's fallout. The movie includes frank interviews with men who survived the deadly blast that started it all, haunting home video taken on the rig before it exploded, and conversations with deep-in-denial oil-industry executives who -- between puffs on their cigars and sips of their cocktails -- have yet to accept the responsibility that comes with their fat paychecks. It's a frustrating but eye-opening exercise that makes it abundantly clear where the interests of the U.S. government and Big Oil lie. Hint: It's together -- and it's not with the invisible little people. Screening details: 7:45 p.m., Prytania Theatre (5339 Prytania St.). Brown ("The Order of Myths") and co-producer Josh Penn ("Beasts of the Southern Wild") are scheduled to attend.


What: The annual eight-day celebration of film, featuring screenings, panel discussions, workshops and parties, all organized by the New Orleans Film Society.

When: Events daily through Thursday, Oct. 23.

Where: Venues throughout the metro area, including the Prytania Theatre, The Theatres at Canal Place, the Chalmette Movies, the Contemporary Arts Center, the Civic Theatre, the Carver Theater and the Ashe Cultural Arts Center.

Tickets: All-access passes ($200 for film society members; $250 for non-members) are available at neworleansfilmsociety.org and grant passholders the opportunity to reserve seats for all screenings and VIP access to all parties and special events. Single-screening, general admission tickets available at the film society website.

Details: Find a full schedule and description of all festival films online at neworleansfilmsociety.org. Visit NOLA.com/movies throughout the festival for daily best bets and daily schedules.


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