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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'Treme' Executive Producer David Mills
On March 30, 2010, David Mills collapsed on the set during the filming of an episode of 'Treme.' He died shortly thereafter of a brain aneurysm.
The cast and crew of the show gathered in Washington Square Park, in New Orleans’ Faubourg Marigny neighborhood, the morning after David’s death. Later, we gathered in City Park to dedicate a live oak tree we had sponsored in David’s memory. Mary Howell, one of the consultants on the show, and the inspiration for the Toni Bernette character, came up with the idea. “I felt like we wanted to do something to mark a place for David here, in New Orleans, putting down some new roots, like he was doing,” she said.
While the “magic Hubig’s” had become something of an icon of ‘Treme,’ we didn’t realize the impact these confections had had on David Mills until we discovered a case of them in his office after his passing. Tom Piazza, one of the ‘Treme’ writers contacted Hubig’s to secure the appropriate pies for the occasion. The labels echoed a line from our promotional posters, which in turn echoed an old Mardi Gras Indian couplet.
David Mills 1961 – 2010 Won’t Bow. Don’t Know How.
A scholarship in David’s name has been created at the University of Maryland. For more details, please visit,http://davidmills.umd.edu/about.php.
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