Katrina documentary “Refuge of Last Resort” premieres with free screening in Norman Sept.19

Katrina satellite image

Katrina satellite image

A first person account of what happened in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina will have its premiere theater screening at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Sooner Theatre, 101 E. Main St. in Norman. The event is free and open to the public.

“Refuge of Last Resort” by James Bills, a New Orleans resident and local filmmaker, contains the only Hi-Definition video footage shot of Katrina and its aftermath. The documentary tells the survival stories of Bills, his family and close friends, trapped in downtown New Orleans throughout the storm and the flooding.

After surviving one of the most powerful storms in recorded history, they soon faced the harsh reality that no help was on the way. They’re running out of food and drinkable water, with no gas and no electricity. They find themselves having to survive by whatever means necessary – and are in the same situation as tens of thousands of others. Six days of hell… with no help from the government – local, state, or federal… no help from the outside world as they realize they are completely on their own.

Reviewer Maureen Herzog with Indie Slate Magazine said, “Through Bills’ high definition cinematography, his own story and the testimonies of other survivors, you experience the insanity and surreal tragedy from the inside looking out, rather than from the outside looking in. Should be required viewing for all Americans… . ”

This film is the only Hi-Definition Katrina documentary filmed, edited and experienced by the filmmaker. Bills uses his original footage throughout his documentary. Spike Lee also used some of Bills’ footage in his four-hour documentary on HBO about Katrina.

“Refuge of Last Resort” is being considered for entry at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2006 in Durham, N.C., the premier documentary film festival in the nation. More information about the film and video clips are available online at http://www.refugeoflastresort.net/.

The showing is part of the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory’s Colloquium and is funded by the NSSL Director’s Discretionary Fund. For more information call (405) 321-9600 or (405) 325-6907.