Indie Grits Festival | April 12-15, 2018

Station 15

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.

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Meet The Filmmaker

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?

I went to an art program for a semester in college through RISD, and I realized that I didn’t want to work insulated in a studio. I liked working with people and in narrative form. So I basically stopped going to class and made a film. Sophie started to make science animations for CreatureCast, a science video podcast based out of Brown University, while she was in college.

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.

Film Shorts

“In Dog Beers I’ve Only Had Two”: A Lesson for Beginners
A Name That I Admire
All Fried: Carolina Fish Camps
All The Beautiful Girls
All The In-Between
Amarillo Ramp
An Accidental Drowning
Atlantic City
Baby Oil
below the neck, above the knees
Blanko – “Hallelujah”
Bless These Sounds Under the City – “THE SLEEPING 8”
The BLM Bridge Protest: One Year Later
Can’t Kids – “Coperroni”
The Checkout Line
Cowgirl Up
CPS Closings & Delays
Dishing Out Community
dragons & seraphim
Elizabeth Sees
F E B R A – “Fasterrrr”
Flagged: An American Love Story
Fluid Frontiers
Forgive Me
Fruit Don’t Fall Far
Gays for Trump?
Girls Rock Columbia
Grand Dragon
Growing Girl
Hair Wolf
Hardcore Wrestling Alliance
Kaye the Beast – “HEARD”
Kevin Devine – “Couldn’t Be Happier”
Kim Bush’s Abduction
Levitate, Levitate, Levitate
Lost Touch
me and my army
My Body Is Not My Own
My Name Is Marc, And You Can Count On It
Not For Medical Use
Nothing A Little Soap Can’t Fix
Ol Scratch
Pak Anggir
The Passages of Pride
Post Nuke
Prayer for Roy Moore
Recuerdos de Sangre / Blood Memories
Roadside Attraction
Sequoyah – “Blue Jays”
Serpents and Doves
Siler City: Bienvenido a Trabajar
Skater Boy and Friendly Cop
Socks on Fire: Uncle John and the Copper Headed Water Rattlers
Station 15
Steve’s Kinkoes
Sweet Nothing
This My Favorite Mural
Three Legged Dog
Tiger Toilet
The Traveler Takamure
You Can’t Play With Us