‘Belly of the Basin’ encourages empowerment of Katrina victims

Stephanie Melchiore

by Stephanie Melchiore

Staff Reporter

“Belly of the Basin,” a 2007 documentary centering on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, continues the Cultural Film and Lecture Series’ theme, “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” in which people challenge power structures.

The filmmakers, Roxana Walker-Canton and Tina Morton, produced the film through their production company, Sisters’ Eye on Media, based in Philadelphia.

As independent filmmakers, both women are established scholars in their fields and award-winning media activists for social reform. “Belly of the Basin” rouses awareness of issues of race, gender, class and politics and their relational value to human life.

The collapse of the levees, which were built to withstand a category five hurricane yet crumbled under an indirect hit by Hurricane Katrina, a category three storm, claimed more than 1,500 lives and left thousands homeless with nowhere to go.

Two years later, it is clear that damage would not have been so extensive and severe had there been careful attention to the design of the levees surrounding New Orleans.

As a result, Hurricane Katrina has now been described not as a natural disaster but as a man-made disaster that could have been prevented by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The extent of destruction goes far beyond the levees and even infrastructure.

Lives were permanently altered, and “Belly of the Basin” depicts the devastation through interviews with survivors and volunteers of grassroots organizations.

The film creates a space for the voices of ordinary residents to tell the stories of their emotional and physical loss of “home” created by the collapse of the levees.

Morton and Walker-Canton show their film and speak to numerous college campuses around the United States, hoping to instigate social reform and motivate more students to help with the relief effort.

“Belly of the Basin” will be shown four times in the Connelly Center Cinema: Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 3:30 and 7 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m. Admission is $3.50 for students with ID and $5 for everyone else.

Morton and Walker-Canton will speak about their film and then lead a discussion following the Monday viewing.

For more information, contact the communication department at X9-4750 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or consult the CFS Web page, www.culturalfilms.villanova.edu.

Upcoming dates for the

Cultural Film Series

Oct. 6-8: “Fahrenheit 451”

Oct. 27-29: “Children of Men”

Nov. 3-5: “Bamako”

Nov. 10-12: “The Tuskegee


Nov. 17-19: “Good Night, and Good Luck”

Dec. 1-3: “Water”