UPDATE 08.30.08: My flight is still good for tomorrow. I’m going to spend today with local journalist Ariella Cohen from CityBusiness as she reports on the voluntary evacuation. One way or another, Gustav adds to my film, and I need to gather additional elements to tell this story. We may even attempt a little house party premiere tonight if there’s anyone left in the city. My hotel closes tomorrow at noon, and I intend to give myself at least 3 hours to get to the airport (normally a 20 minute drive). Shades of Baghdad!
UPDATE 08.29.08: Thank goodness we had a successful sneak preview of the film last night. We’ve canceled the premiere for tomorrow with an impending mandatory evacuation as Gustav approaches. I’m supposed to return to Seattle on Sunday morning.
The film premiere of Independent America: Rising from Ruins, is up for grabs right now with Gustav gathering strength and heading to the Gulf of Mexico Once local officials get a handle on the hurricane’s path, they may issue a 48-hour evacuation notice.
I’m ready either way. I brought my camera, waterproof gear, and even my Pentax W60 waterproof point & shoot — which I may call into duty if I need to re-start production of a film that won’t end (as we like to say in the MCDM program, “permanently beta”). Or we have the premiere as scheduled with even more to discuss (organizers have already cancelled the daylong conference, but will proceed with the screenings unless there is an evacuation). For my latest updates, catch my Twitter feed.
In the meantime, we’ve decided to do a “sneak preview” tonight at Fair Grinds Coffeehouse (which gave away free coffee for a year after Katrina), just in case the city is empty come Saturday. I’m really happy with this 52-minute version of the film. To celebrate its “completion,” I’m posting this short animated excerpt from the documentary, created by MCDM graduate Tom Troisch (press “Play” above or watch in HD on Vimeo). The challenge was to take a very complicated tax mechanism, used and abused across America, and make it understandable.
So to recap: I’ve got my laptop, two HD cameras, my suction-cup tripod mount, 1 waterproof point-and-shoot camera with HD video capability, two Nokia cellphones, a Garmin GPS, rain gear, and an SUV (not a four-letter word in this part of the world given the propensity for natural disaster). As we used to say up in the Great White North at the CBC, I’m “loaded for bear” but hoping the bear will decide just to roll up and take a nap under some shady tree.