Max Carlson's documentary 'Bhopali' won both the Grand Jury and the Audience awards for best documentary at Utah's Slamdance Film Festival. View the full list of awards here. Below is an article written prior to the premiere that interviews the filmmaker.
'Bhopali" Documentary Probes 1984 Disaster
From the Wall Street Journal Blog
What became known as the world’s worst industrial disaster in modern history occurred in December of 1984 when a Union Carbide (now Dow Chemical) pesticide factory in Bhopal, India leaked enough methyl isocyanate and other gases to contaminate the groundwater and air around the factory. (Dow Chemical never owned the factory, which is now defunct. It was sold before Dow Chemical purchased Union Carbide Corp.) The government puts the death toll in the days immediately following the disaster at 3,787, while victims’ representatives put the immediate figure as high as 10,000 and they say it has reached around 25,000 now. The disaster affected 500,000 people, some of whom acquired incurable birth defects. 26 years later, the water supply still remains contaminated and Carbide has yet to take responsibility for its actions (The company did pay the 1989 $471 million in a 1989 settlement).
Spending four months in 2009 in Bhopal, 26-year-old Los Angeles-based filmmaker Van Maximilian Carlson chronicled the harrowing lives of disabled children and locals like Sanjay Verma who lost his parents and all but one of his siblings to the tragedy. Carlson’s first feature documentary entitled “Bhopali” screened this week at this year’s Slamdance Festival and last night was anointed with the Audience Award and Best Documentary Film accolades. Speakeasy sat down with Carlson in Park City, UT before his big night.