Every year, when watching festival submissions, trends will become clear. In 2000, it was the year of the “waiting-in-line-for-Phantom Menace doc.” In 2001, it was the “Bush-stole-election doc.” In 2002, it was the “9/11 doc.” In 2005, it was the “Bush-stole-the-election-again doc.” In 2006, it was the “war-in-Iraq doc.” This year… without a doubt, it is the year of the “Hurricane Katrina doc.” This became incredibly clear to me, tonight, when I – totally at random – pulled four documentary features in a row that told some sort of story in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I would estimate these four likely comprise somewhere around 25-30 feature documentaries that are out there, all about Katrina. This does not include the dozens of short films about it, either. This is good, because it’s an important story to tell, and who better than independent documentary filmmakers?
But, like many cultural trends, once you have a masterpiece… all other artists must redefine the art. In the case of the Katrina doc, that masterpiece would be Spike Lee’s When The Levees Broke, a four-hour masterpiece that was among the best films of 2006. So, another great Katrina doc is out there, it’s just got to tell a completely different story from a completely different approach. No one’s in a hurry to see When The Levees Broke: The Sequel. Something new should be coming along.