Film Festival Presents Award-Winning Film Around the Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina
Director/Producer Geralyn Pezanoski will be in Sedona to host screenings and Q&A discussions
The multiple award-winning documentary “Mine” makes its Arizona Premiere in Sedona on Tuesday, Sept. 8. The event is scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina which sets the backdrop of the powerful, touching and thought-provoking film. There will be two screenings of the film at 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. at Harkins Sedona Six Theatres. “Mine” is the second film in the Sedona International Film Festival’s four-week “What’s Up, Doc?” Documentary Series featuring award-winning documentaries from festivals around the world.
Director and producer Geralyn Pezanoski will be in Sedona to host the premiere and conduct Q&A discussions following both screenings.
“This film will resonate with all animal lovers and pet owners, as well as anyone with an interest in humanity,” said festival operations director Debbie Williams. “It is sure to be one of the most moving and touching documentaries you will see, taking you on an emotional roller coaster.”
“Mine” is the powerful story about the essential bond between humans and animals told against the backdrop of one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. The film explores how tragedy intensifies that bond and is told from the perspective of original guardians, rescuers, and adoptive parents of the voiceless victims of Katrina. These individuals are all connected by two things, the tragic aftermath of Katrina and their love of animals.
In response to an unprecedented crisis, thousands of pets were transported around the country and adopted even when their displaced guardians were still desperately looking for them. Meanwhile, many adoptive guardians had forged strong bonds with their new pets, nurturing them back to health from the traumas they suffered during and after the storm.
When two families love the same pet, conflicts inevitably arise over who is the rightful “owner” and what is right for the animal. At the center of this tension are pets who are loved like family, but by law are considered property. This begs the question, who is looking out for the best interest of the animals? Set in a post-Katrina landscape of poverty, loss and moral uncertainty, “Mine” presents the complexity of an intensely emotional situation that has no simple answers.
A tragedy of this scale reveals the worst and brings out the best in humankind and presents an opportunity for us to bring about meaningful social change. “Mine” is a compelling, character-driven story that challenges us see the way we treat animals in our society as a reflection of how we treat ourselves – and each other.
“Like millions across the country I was profoundly affected by the startling images I witnessed during coverage of Hurricane Katrina: people stranded on rooftops, suffering crowds at the Super Dome, and the decimation of one of America’s most culturally vibrant and diverse cities,” said producer/director Geralyn Pezanoski. “And like millions of others I was devastated as well by images of the thousands of animals in distress – their helplessness bringing into even greater relief the chaos and overwhelming scope of the tragedy. So when I read about a nascent but quickly growing rescue effort being carried out by animal lovers from across the country and the world, I decided to go to New Orleans to document this incredible undertaking.”
During the ensuing six weeks, Pezanoski filmed dozens of intrepid rescue workers, devoted animal rights advocates, and thousands of animals in need of saving – even after they were ‘rescued’. While a few residents trickled back into New Orleans and managed to reclaim their pets, most were displaced and barred from entering the city, so she watched day after day as these unclaimed animals were loaded onto trucks and planes and sent to shelters across the country, their fates uncertain.
Pezanoski herself fostered – and eventually adopted – a pointer mix she named Nola.
“As the months went on, my crew and I began to see an increasing number of residents returning to New Orleans to try to rebuild their lives. It became apparent that legions of them – people who had lost everything – were desperate to find their pets,” said Pezanoski. “We heard about hundreds of other cases across the county: people who were still displaced but on the hunt for their animals. But as broad and deep as the story went, there seemed to be strangely little information about it in mainstream media.”
Pezanoski had many questions: “Why hadn’t people been allowed to evacuate with their animals? Now that these animals were adopted into new homes, who had the authority to decide whether they should be left where they were or returned to their previous owners? Why were original owners running into such resistance in trying to find and reclaim their pets? What would I do if someone came looking for Nola, to whom I had become so attached?”
“I explored these questions and many more during the three years I spent making ‘Mine’. My primary focus was on a handful of extraordinary Katrina victims committed to finding their animals even years after the disaster, but the story extends to rescue workers and new adoptive guardians, who, like me, decided to take in pets left behind and care for them as their own,” said Pezanoski. “We met and interviewed hundreds of people over the years, and what emerged was a profound story of the bond between humans and animals, and the power of that bond to ameliorate human suffering. Equally striking, however, were stories both of the continuing prevalence of racism and classism in America, and the incredible power of compassion in the wake of tragedy.”
Preview the Film Here:
The title sponsor for the event is the Humane Society of Sedona. All audience members attending the screenings of “Mine” are requested to bring a donation of dog or cat food for the Humane Society shelter here in Sedona. The lodging host sponsor is Los Abrigados Resort & Spa.
“Mine” will be shown at Harkins Sedona Six Theatres on Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $10, or $8 for Film Sedona members, and will be available starting at 3:00 p.m. that day in the Harkins lobby. Cash or checks only. Film Sedona members can purchase tickets in advance at the Sedona International Film Festival office, 1785 W. Hwy. 89A, Suite 2B, or by calling 282-1177. For more information, visit: http://www.sedonafilmfestival.com/.