Mardi Gras Indians documentary 'Bury the Hatchet'
New Orleans filmmaker Aaron Walker has proven that he "won't bow down," as the Mardi Gras Indians say in his stirring new documentary "Bury the Hatchet" (read movie review) -- but, despite his tempered demeanor, Walker can be excused if he does a little jumping for joy.His film, examining New Orleans' Mardi Gras Indian culture -- a film that doesn't even have a distributor yet but which opened Friday (Aprill 22) for a weeklong run at the Chalmette Movies anyway -- has been collecting awards and positive notices since even beforehe finished it last fall.
First came a Grand Prize and Intangible Culture Award at England's Royal Anthropological Institute Festival of Ethnographic Film after a work-in-progress screening there in July 2009. In 2010, at October's New Orleans Film Festival, Walker was named Louisiana Filmmaker of the Year for the completed film.
And now, after being handed a slot at the prestigious Hot Docs documentary film festival, which unspools later this month in Toronto, one gets the feeling this promising little film could be on the verge of something big.
"I hope," Walker said this week. "I hope it's starting to roll and snowball. It got accepted in Hot Docs, and that's one of North America's most prestigious festivals. And literally the day after it was accepted, I was getting calls and emails from distribution agents, sales agents. A guy in France called me; he's got some festivals and he wanted to see a screener. You know, all these different other festivals -- instead of me bugging them, it was like 'Oh, send us a screener and we'll waive the fee.' "
But don't mistake all that to mean "Bury the Hatchet" is an overnight success story.
This is a film that took more than six years to make.
"I guess it was in '04," Walker said, recounting the origins of "Bury the Hatchet," which started as a 20-minute profile of Big Chief Monk Boudreaux of the Golden Eagles, whom Walker had met while working on a music video in which Boudreaux had a cameo.
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