Request for Proposals for Creation of a Documentary

On 20 April 2010, the Deep Water Horizon drilling rig operating approximately 50 miles (80 km) off the coast of Louisiana experienced a catastrophic failure that resulted in the tragic loss of 11 lives, the release of petroleum (oil and gas) and subsequent explosion and fire, the ultimate sinking of the rig, and a discharge of gas and light sweet crude oil from an ocean depth of nominally 5000 feet (1525 m).  By the time the well was capped on July 15, 2010 (87 days later), millions of barrels of oil had leaked into the Gulf.

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is a 10-year independent research program established to study the effects, and the potential associated impacts, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection and characterization, and remediation technologies.  An independent 20-member Research Board makes funding and research direction decisions to ensure intellectual quality, effectiveness and independence of the GoMRI research.  All research data, findings and publications will be made publicly available.  The program was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP. 

This documentary project provides an opportunity to share critical GoMRI research findings on effects of the oil spill, the worst in US history, while being sensitive to the loss of human lives in the accident. What were the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon event (physical, chemical, biological, economic, human health and societal), what are GoMRI scientists finding through their research in this region, and how do these research findings translate to developing more advanced ways to protect public health and restore environmental resources in case of future events? Project products should tell an easy-to-understand, engaging story on research being conducted by GoMRI scientists that will provide a sense of place, appeal to the public’s understanding of science, encourage long-term support for protecting resources in this region, and promote science literacy. Project products should appeal to viewers on a national scale. The audience is envisioned to be a science-curious public with an 8th grade level of science understanding. 

As part of this Request, we seek experienced documentary film makers to develop and propose their creative vision for a documentary project of this subject that must be successfully targeted for a national television outlet such as National Geographic, PBS, Discovery Channel, etc. as well as secondary media outlets. The program’s Outreach and Communications Committee will advise the documentary makers on scientific content and direction while allowing filmmakers to maintain control of artistic vision.

See the attached Request for more details. The deadline for submission is March 19, 2014, at 5pm Eastern. The award will be announced by the end of May, with the option for work to be authorized while the contract is being executed. Please submit proposals to

View the full RFP here. [UPDATED]

© Copyright 2010-2017 Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) – All Rights Reserved. Redistribution is encouraged with acknowledgement to the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI). Please credit images and/or videos as done in each article. Questions? Contact web-content editor Nilde “Maggie” Dannreuther, Northern Gulf Institute, Mississippi State University (