Synopsis by Mark Deming
The destruction of most of the city of New Orleans, Louisiana by Hurricane Katrina in the late summer of 2005 was one of the biggest and most startling news stories of the new millennium, but while people around the world were made well aware of the impact of the hurricane and dangerously botched relief efforts, most of the media went away after the winds had calmed and the immediate disaster was over. However, for most of the residents of New Orleans's Lower Ninth Ward, a historically African-American neighborhood with a large number of low-income residents who were hit hard by Katrina, the story was just beginning as they struggled to reclaim the homes from the wreckage and start their lives over again, often against remarkable odds. Award-winning filmmaker Jonathan Demme traveled to New Orleans after Katrina, and continued to visit the Ninth Ward for the better part of a year, collecting over 200 hours of interviews with people who call the neighborhood home. From this footage, Demme has created a documentary, New Home Movies of the Lower Ninth Ward, which looks at the human face of the tragedy of New Orleans and how the people of the Ninth Ward have tried to rise to the challenge of restoring a neighborhood in the wake of disaster. New Home Movies From The Lower Ninth Ward was screened in competition at the 2007 Silverdocs Film Festival, a competition founded by the American Film Institute and The Discovery Channel.