New Documentary Focuses on Efforts of Scientists to Measure Impact of Deepwater Horizon Oil Release
– APRIL 18, 2016
When the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded in 2010 releasing the largest oil spill in United States history, scientists from around the country came to the Gulf of Mexico to try to measure the impact of the environmental disaster.
Written, directed and produced by long-time husband and wife filmmakers Marilyn and Hal Weiner, the documentary provides a behind the scenes look at some of the immense scientific research being done in the Gulf of Mexico and coastal states.
“We want to show people what scientists do,” said Hal Weiner.
More and more it appears people don’t believe scientists, Weiner said, so one of the documentary’s goals is to give people a better idea of what scientists actually do.
And it appears to be working based on the reaction Weiner said he’s gotten from a number of screenings of the film.
“The reaction is always, ‘Oh that’s what scientists do. That’s what an oceanographer does,’ ” Weiner said. “We really wanted to focus on the science.”
Filming started in 2014 in Louisiana and other parts of the Gulf Coast, to look at the health and population of fish through analyzing fish tissue, remote operated vehicle dives and laboratory work.
“The biggest challenge was figuring out what they were talking about,” Weiner said. He said the filmmakers kept asking the scientists to explain their research in terms that would be simple enough for a general audience to understand.
After the spill, there were limited number of funding sources for research. One was associated with legal action involving Deepwater Horizon, which precluded the scientists involved from talking about their work yet.
However, the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, funded by $500 million over a 10-year time frame from BP, did have scientists involved who could talk and were still doing work in the Gulf of Mexico.
The film was paid for in part by a grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, with other funding from the Wallace Genetic Foundation and the Farvue Foundation.
GoMRI “In the news” is a reposting of articles about GoMRI-funded research (published by various news outlets).