Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Filmmaker Q&A: Jon Bowermaster, "SoLa, Louisiana Water Stories"

Filmmaker Q&A: “SoLa, Louisiana Water Stories”

By Veronica DePaolis

More than half of the world’s population lives within 30 miles of the coastline so it’s no wonder that so many have their own ‘water stories’. Jon Bowermaster’s “SoLa” explores the water stories of Southern Lousiana focusing on the complex relationship between people, politics, culture, and the water.

Poignantly filmed as the BP Gulf Disaster unfolded, SoLa’s intent is to capture the unique water culture in this often environmentally-troubled area.

You can see “SoLa” at 7 PM on Saturday March 12. Get tickets here:

What is your overall summary for the film?
When we first went to Louisiana, in July 2008, to make a film about the complicated relationship between man and water there we had no idea that our reporting would conclude with the worst manmade ecologic disaster ever.

“SoLa” is a poignant look back at a way of life that may now be gone forever as well as a prescient look at exactly how the gusher in the Gulf was allowed to happen … thanks to corruption, malfeasance and an industry and political climate that environmental pollution simply a cost of doing business.

See the preview:

What was your inspiration for creating the film?
To show the intertwined links among Cajun culture, water and environmental issues along the Gulf Coast.

What was the most challenging part of creating the film?
The filming was relatively trouble-free … other than being held by Louisiana State Troopers for two hours for filming a petrochemical plant without permission. And of course we were finishing the film as the BP explosion and leaking occurred, which meant ripping up the edit we had and starting from the top.

What do you want to impart on your film’s viewers?

As most documentaries, to educate viewers about the recent history of this incredibly unique corner of America. I am convinced that of the 50 states, Louisiana is the most one-of-a-kind, known for specific foods, music, dance, language, culture … and environmental messes.

What was the most enjoyable part of creating the film?

The food, music, dance, language and culture of southern Louisiana. As well as the fact that everyone in southern Louisiana truly is related, which meant being introduced to new interviewees and helpers was easy.

Who is your inspiration?

My longtime contact for all environmental issues in Louisiana is Marylee Orr, director of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network … who introduced me to both the subject matter and the incredibly committed people working on environmental issues across southern Louisiana.

How or why did you begin creating ocean-focused films?

It started with the first OCEANS 8 project I did with the help of National Geographic in 1999 – sea kayaking in the Aleutian Islands. Since then we’ve made a dozen films about the relationship between man and the sea around the world. The easiest part is that there are limitless stories, given that 60 percent of the world’s human population lives within 30 miles of a coastline.

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