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Katrina Documentary 'Desert Bayou' Picks Up Political Steam

by Cathy Mouton Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007 at 7:22 AM
cmouton@cinemalibrestudio.com 818-349-8822

Post-Katrina New Orleans documentary Desert Bayou fuels Discussion of Government Failure, Lingering Racial and Socio-Ecomomic Issues. Political commentator and Gore 2000 campaign manager Donna Brazile, along with the ACLU, Appleseed, and The Raben Group to host an advance screening in D.C. on October 24th. Film opens in LA on October 26th with Q&A sessions with director Alex LeMay after 7:30pm showings on the 26th and 27th at Laemmle Sunset 5 theaters.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Less than two weeks after its theatrical premiere in New York, director Alex LeMay's and producer Percy 'Master P' Miller's "Desert Bayou" has attracted a flurry of interest from the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union and Appleseed, as well as leaders in the African American community including Donna Brazile, Congressman Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Reverend Al Sharpton.

The feature length documentary tells the story of the 600 African Americans who were airlifted out of New Orleans after the floods, shipped to Utah without their knowledge, subjected to three identity checks and then housed at an isolated military base. Although the people flown to Utah were a small percentage of those displaced -- estimates are between 645,000 and 1 million -- their story is emblematic of some painful truths about race, religion and poverty in America. The documentary features Master P, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and families displaced by the storm.

"For all of us whose loved ones and friends suffered through Katrina, 'Desert Bayou' is another reminder of how badly our government failed the citizens of New Orleans - and how much we need to do," says New Orleans native Donna Brazile, the political commentator and Gore 2000 campaign manager. Brazile shared the story of her search for her New Orleans-based family in the wake of the hurricane in a 2006 Vanity Fair article.

On Wednesday, October 24, 2007, Brazile, The American Civil Liberty Union, Appleseed and The Raben Group are co-hosting an advance screening of the film in Washington D.C. (details below).

Congressman Edolphus Towns (D-NY) says the film "highlights the best and worst of America, and I hope this important film will motivate all of us to do better."

One year after the storm, an estimated 197,000 New Orleans evacuees were still displaced. Of those, 70% were African-American and 38% were living below the poverty line.

With so many still displaced from their homes, Master P is taking an active role in the film's distribution to draw attention to the indignity of those still displaced by Katrina. Master P's parents lived in New Orleans during the storm, and his search for them led him from Salt Lake City to Alabama, where he ultimately found them.

In addition to hosting premiere and fundraising events, the film's producers and distributor will contribute a percentage of receipts to a non-profit organization that will go towards the rebuilding of New Orleans.

"Percy 'Master P' Miller uses his celebrity to bring much needed attention to 'Desert Bayou,' an important film that gives us a unique look at race relations in America and the impact Hurricane Katrina had on the community and culture of New Orleans," says Vicangelo Bulluck, the Executive Director of NAACP Hollywood Bureau. He adds, "It serves as a reminder that many of those who were displaced will never find their way back home."

The film began its theatrical release on October 5, 2007 in New York City, which was proclaimed "Desert Bayou Day" by City Council members in recognition of the humanitarian cause the film takes on for the people of New Orleans. It was the highest grossing film to run at the Village East theatre that weekend. The film is rolling out in nationwide limited platform release and will start October 26th, 2007 in Washington DC at AMC/Lowes Dupont 5 and at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theater in LA. Cinema Libre Studio is theatrically distributing the film nationwide in a limited platform release in association with Taproot Productions, Take A Stand Films and Processing Production.

For Producers and Editors:

Advance Screening Details:



Wednesday, October 24th (Reception begins at 6:30pm /Film starts at 7:00pm)

Human Rights Campaign Building

1640 Rhode Island Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20036

RSVP to Kara at kforsyth@rabengroup.com or by telephone to 202.223.2848

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