Not Broken: New Katrina Documentary - Testament to Human Spirit
A new, award-winning documentary, Not Broken, recently released on DVD is different from the films released thus far about the Katrina disaster, says producer-director Armando P. Ibáñez.
“Ours includes a critical element of our humanity—spirituality and faith,” said Ibáñez, a Roman Catholic priest, a Dominican friar of the Southern Dominican Province, headquartered in New Orleans. “Faith, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or of whatever tradition, helped people get through the catastrophe, and is helping them heal and rebuild.” Not Broken illustrates the pain, struggle and near death experiences of some who faced the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina five years ago, and, yet, in the midst of turmoil, they mustered the courage to help one another.
Kris Kristofferson, whose song Shipwrecked in the 80s is included in the feature Documentary’s soundtrack, said: “This powerful, moving documentary of the Katrina disaster is a testament to the courage and integrity of the Human Spirit.” Not Broken, produced by Pluma Pictures, Inc., a non-profit film production company, was just released on DVD, and is available on Amazon.com and Createspace. Also the film will be available on Amazon Video On Demand in the near future. “We’d love to screen the film in a parish, school or organizational function,” said Ibanez, who resides in St. Helen’s parish in Pearland. “I’ve discovered that the doc generates great discussion about our humanity, spirituality and, quite frankly, how we may respond in a crisis.”
According to those interviewed in the documentary, the federal, state, and local governments failed miserably. Also, the response by American Red Cross was criticized as sluggish, and, in Dallas, the agency refused to allow Roman Catholic priests to minister to their flock who had taken refuge at the Reunion Arena. Had it not been for churches, synagogues, temples and people of faith, many more would have died, according to those interviewed. Not Broken is about the horrific life-and-death ordeals and struggles some people faced at the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina, as well as their heroics. In the aftermath, some faced gross governmental incompetence, neglect, crime, racism and religious bigotry. Their faith, however, provided a reservoir of strength, not only for their survival, but in also aiding others.
The film won a number of awards, including the Platinum Remi Award, WorldFest- Houston 2008, and the Magnificat Award from the International Catholic Film Festival, held in Minsk, Belarus. In addition, the documentary was runner up in the Top Documentary category at the AFIA International Film Festival 2008, held in Aarhus, Denmark, and won second place for Best Humanitarian Award, Bayou City Inspirational Film Festival 2008. Not Broken was also featured at the Teaneck International Film Festival, New York, and Earth Day 2008, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, New Orleans.
Music and poetry are integral to the documentary. Aside from Kristofferson’s song, another song, The Passunder (New Orleans), by folksinger and activist John Flynn plays a central role in the musicʼs score. Also included in the soundtrack are songs and music by the late Jack Neilson. Other musicians include rising Gospel music composer Stephen Lee, Chris Stroffolino and Paul Soniat. Michael Paz of New Orleans is music producer and supervisor. Todd Schmidt and Ned Greene are co-producers, Jackie Flynn, associate producer, Pascal Leister editor, and John Polito, sound mixer.
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