HBO Documentary Film Marks The First Anniversary Of The BP Oil Spill


Over seven thousand birds were killed as a result of the April 2010 BP oil spill that spread throughout the Gulf of Mexico. 

After three months, clean-up workers at the Fort Jackson Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Louisiana had rescued 894 surviving oiled pelicans.

HBO Documentary Films presents the story of the rescue effort to save the 895th surviving oiled pelican in Louisiana, showing how conservationists, government agencies and wildlife activists joined forces in hopes to preserve this one life.

SAVING PELICAN 895 offers an inspiring bird’s-eye view into the rigorous process employed to save thousands of oiled birds affected by the spill when it debuts WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20 (9:00 – 9:45 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates:  April 23 (noon), 26 (5:00 p.m., midnight), 29 (6:45 a.m.) and 30 (5:35 a.m.), and May 5 (2:00 p.m.), 8 (3:30 p.m.) and 21 (10:45 a.m. PT)

HBO2 playdates:  April 27 (8:00 p.m.) and April 28 (8:30 a.m.)

The Brown Pelican, the state bird of Louisiana, has endured a turbulent history along the Louisiana Coast.  In the mid-1900s, pollution pushed the pelican to the brink of extinction, and by 1963, it had disappeared from the state altogether.  As a result the Brown Pelican spent 45 years on the endangered species list, while state biologists worked tirelessly to reintroduce the species to its natural habitat.  A major victory came in November of 2009 when the Brown Pelican was finally removed from the endangered species list.  Five months later on April 20, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oilrig exploded off the coast of Louisiana, spilling millions of gallons of oil into prime bird habitat in the Gulf of Mexico, and leaving the state bird in peril once again.

Directed by Oscar® nominee Irene Taylor Brodsky (HBO’s “The Final Inch” and “Hear and Now”), SAVING PELICAN 895 tells the gripping story of “LA 895,” named after its state and rescue number by the Fort Jackson Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Louisiana.  For months after the explosion, millions of gallons of oil per day gushed into bird nesting habitat, leaving many of them – some only baby birds – incapacitated and near death. The film documents LA 895’s rescue and recovery as an incapacitated juvenile bird with oil-slicked feathers to his ultimate maturation and release back into the wild.HBO Documentary Films

The impact of the 2010 BP oil spill has left an indelible mark on the Gulf region, threatening not only the livelihood of the local people, but also the productive ecosystem and its wildlife for years to come.  Through interviews with relief workers, including Jay Holcomb, director emeritus of the International Bird Rescue Research Center, oil employees and local residents, the film demonstrates how the people involved work around the clock to give the wildlife a chance to survive.  Interestingly, the U.S. is the only country that demands oil companies pay for the cost of rehabilitating affected wildlife after the spill.

SAVING PELICAN 895 is as much about the affects of the spill on the Brown Pelican as a species as it is about the Louisianians who put their hearts and souls into helping to heal their state bird.  The film illustrates on a microcosmic level the impact that a small community can make on a much larger issue.

Ultimately, SAVING PELICAN 895 is a story of redemption and of human compassion.  Thanks to those who worked interminably in the months following the spill, 1,246 birds were rescued and released back into the wild.

Irene Taylor Brodsky is an Emmy® and Peabody Award-winning, Oscar®-nominated, producer, director, writer and cinematographer.  Her first feature-length film, “Hear and Now,” won the 2007 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award and was also nominated for Documentary of the Year by the Producer’s Guild of America.  In collaboration with HBO, her 2009 film “The Final Inch” was nominated for an Academy Award® and three Emmy® Awards.

HBO Documentary Films presents SAVING PELICAN 895; directed and produced by Irene Taylor Brodsky; edited by Geof Bartz and Andrew Morreale; director of photography, Peter D. Richardson; original music by Joel Goodman.   For HBO:  supervising producer, Sara Bernstein; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.