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AFFRM’s ARRAY Takes Worldwide Rights To Nailah Jefferson’s Gulf BP Oil Spill Doc ‘Vanishing Pearls’

AFFRM's ARRAY Takes Worldwide Rights To Nailah Jefferson's Gulf BP Oil Spill Doc 'Vanishing Pearls'

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster (aka the BP Oil Spill), is officially registered as one of the worst oil spill disasters in an unfortunately rather lengthy history of similar devastating occurrences all over the world; The people who live in the Niger delta, for example, are just one ongoing example of a population that has had to live with resulting environmental catastrophes for decades. Their story has been documented on film more than a few times – films that were highlighted on this blog.

The Deepwater BP Oil Spill takes center stage in this specific case, in Louisiana native Nailah Jefferson’s feature documentary, Vanishing Pearls – a 2014 Slamdance Film Festival selection.

An all-too familiar David vs Goliath story, the film follows the battle between the multinational oil and gas company, BP, and a 300-person Louisiana Gulf community dependent on oyster fishing, in a region where the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened, where more than 200 million gallons of crude oil was pumped into the Gulf of Mexico for a total of 87 days, making it the biggest oil spill in U.S. history. Many thousand total miles of coastline were affected, including the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, and even though the well was capped in July 2010, oil is still washing up on shores, which might cause long-term damage to people living in the area.

The initial oil rig explosion killed 11 people and injured 17 others, and over 8,000 animals (birds, turtles, mammals) were reported dead just 6 months after the spill, including many that are already on the endangered species list. 

Nailah Jefferson’s film (also her directorial debut), which should act as a propogator of information on a situation that many may still not know about, has been picked up by ARRAY, the multi-platform distribution label of the

African American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM), who, today announced the acquisition of the film’s worldwide rights – its first documentary pick-up.

“Nailah has created a breathtaking documentary set against one of the worst environmental

catastrophes in US history by highlighting the economic and cultural losses with a strikingly

personal approach. We’re pleased to work with this exciting new documentarian in connecting

Vanishing Pearls with its audience,” explained ARRAY’s Managing Director Tilane Jones

The deal was negotiated by Gordon Bobb of Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein &

Lezcano on behalf of AFFRM.

AFFRM will open the film in NYC and LA on April 18, to coincide with the 4th anniversary of one of America’s worst environmental tragedies.

Over 30,000 people responded to the spill, working to clean up the coast, take care of animals and perform various other duties. 

As of 2012, the Gulf was still polluted with oil.

Watch a trailer for the film below (poster underneath):

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