Thursday, April 12 at 4:30 PM
Feature Block: Rodents of Unusual Size
Kira Akerman & Sophie Tintori, PH.D. | New Orleans, LA | 15 min
Genre: Documentary Short
The flooding of New Orleans during recent rain storms, twelve years after Hurricane Katrina, inspires a high school student, Chastity Hunter, to go on a quest to find out how safe her city really is. As she interviews an urban designer, a pump station operator, a geographer, and a geo-morphologist, we learn about Louisiana’s failing drainage systems, and about the greater risks of living in an era of climate change.Buy Tickets
We asked our filmmakers some questions about them and their work. For further questions, join us at the designated post-screening Q+A!
Kira Ackerman– Director
Sophie Tintori– Co-Director
1. What is your connection to the South?
I have lived in the South since 2011, mostly in New Orleans, but also in Mississippi. Sophie, my co-director, lived in New Orleans the year after Hurricane Katrina and has since returned frequently. She also lived in North Carolina for the past 7 years completing her Ph.D.
2. Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
My friends Aron Chang and Claire Anderson co-founded Ripple Effect, a community of teachers, water experts, and design educators working to establish water literacy in schools. They create standards-aligned and design-based learning experiences that connect to real places. In the spring of 2016, I helped them recruit a cohort of teachers. The more I learned about the city’s water issues, the more ineluctable the topic became. Aron suggested I make a film, and I was compelled by how removed we are from our infrastructural systems and yet how deeply they mirror the structure of our most intimate thoughts. The pump system, to me, was like a person’s unconscious— the part of the city people would rather ignore or block out. I always admired Sophie’s science animations from afar. She was excited to learn about the water system from a science perspective. So we joined forces to tell a story that was at once intimate yet about a system, and combined art and science as forms of questioning and contemplation.
3. How did you start making films?
4. Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
In the filmmaking process, we thought a lot about “a worm’s eye view”, which is a perspective the architect David Waggonner likes to talk about. In tackling what that might look like, we tied a go pro to the end of a broom, jumped along the side of a canal, and stuck it into various pipes under the street.
5. What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
Seeing other people’s films.
6. Why should someone see your film?
While the pump system in New Orleans is unique to New Orleans, the way the city deals with water is a pretty strong metaphor for how our country deals with it: out of sight and out of mind. As sea levels rise and cities sink (due to subsidence)— cities like Boston, New York, Miami — will be forced to confront it. I think it’s worth thinking about before a major disaster hits and it is seen as a kind of monster. Water is also, in the words of Octavia Butler, “the only lasting truth, change.” It’s everything.
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