Weary of Hurricane Sandy? Watch This Cute Tiny Boat Weather the Storms!

Little Boat: A Bittersweet Tale of Persistence and Adversity

Little Boat is a bittersweet, sometimes heartbreaking minimalist five-minute animated short film by CalArts student Nelson Boles. After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in September 2005, Boles enrolled in the Teen Program at The Animation Academy in Burbank. He was a 16 year-old young man from New Orleans, a refugee from the storm. Later, when things got back to semi-normal in New Orleans, he returned home.

Boles’s Little Boat is an inspiring story of adventure and perseverance, starring a surprisingly expressive little dinghy. The short film went viral a while back, charming thousands of viewers and winning a number of festival prizes, but it feels particularly relevant while people all up and down the East Coast braced themselves for the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy.

Little Boat imbues life into an obstinately mundane object, as the little red the dinghy steadfastly pushes forward through storms, floods and wars. One shot, at the 2:10 mark in the film, shows the little boat resolutely thrusting forward upon the stormy seas, only to have its mast shattered in half; it’s as heartbreaking a moment as anything that could happen to a more conventional animated character with eyes, hands and legs.

The deceptively simple animation contains lots of surprises, so make sure to watch it full screen with the sound turned up; half the story is in the audio.

Little Boat: A Bittersweet Tale of Persistence and Adversity

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Remembering Hurricane Katrina: Portraits of Tragic Loss

Remembering Hurricane Katrina: Portraits of Tragic Loss

Photography by: Chris Jordan

Today, the mayors and governors along the Gulf Coast issued dire warnings about Hurricane Isaac. Seven years ago, Katrina slammed into New Orleans on Aug. 29, 2005, as a strong Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125 mph. More than 1,800 people were killed, most of them in Louisiana. On Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Isaac had become a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 mph, which could get stronger by the time it’s expected to reach the swampy coast of southeast Louisiana. The latest projections showed Isaac making landfall at or near New Orleans late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

This week marks the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s ravages of New Orleans, a city that not long ago appeared to be completely lost. Only seven years have passed since rotting corpses were floating through the city’s streets, since hundreds of thousands of survivors sat in hotel rooms and shelters and the homes of relatives, finding out from news coverage that they had been forced to join the ranks of the homeless. The unbelievable devastation of New Orleans is almost beyond human comprehension. The virtually complete destruction of the entire city by Hurricane Katrina, the loss of huge numbers of lives, the ruination of the property and lives of so many, especially the poor and disadvantaged, is a tragedy of historically monumental proportions.

Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast with devastating force at daybreak on Aug. 29, 2005, pounding an area that included the fabled city of New Orleans and wreaking large-scale damages on neighboring Mississippi. In all, more than 1,700 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of others were displaced. Packing a terrifying punch of 145-mile-an-hour winds when it made landfall, the category-4 storm left more than a million people in three states without power and submerged highways even hundreds of miles from its center. The hurricane’s storm surge pushed a 29-foot wall of water ashore when the hurricane struck the Gulf Coast, which was the highest level ever measured in the United States. Levees failed in New Orleans, resulting in political and social upheavals that continue a half decade later.

Damage, costing billions of dollars, has made Katrina one of the costliest storms on record. In New Orleans, floodwaters from the breached levee rose to rooftops in the poorest neighborhoods, and in many areas residents were rescued from roofs of homes that had become uninhabitable. The hurricane’s roaring winds stripped 15-foot sections off the roof of the Superdome, where as many as 10,000 city residents had been forced to take shelter. An exodus of hundreds of thousands left the city, many becoming refugees, finding shelter with nearby relatives or restarting their lives in states as far away as Massachusetts and Utah.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper is maintaining detailed Hurricane Katrina Anniversary coverage, as well as an extensive archive of historical news coverage and photographs about Katrina, which can be accessed here.

After Hurricane Katrina: The Ghost Town

A Photographic Essay: In the Wake of Katrina

Slide Show: A Remembrance of Katrina’s Wake/Portraits of Tragic Loss

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

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The Little Boat: A Bittersweet Tale of Persistence and Adversity

The Little Boat: A Bittersweet Tale of Persistence and Adversity

The Little Boat is a bittersweet, sometimes heartbreaking minimalist five-minute animated short film by CalArts student Nelson Boles. After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in September 2005, Boles enrolled in the Teen Program at The Animation Academy in Burbank. He was a 16 year-old young man from New Orleans, a refugee from the storm. Later, when things got back to semi-normal in New Orleans, he returned home.

The Little Boat imbues life into an obstinately mundane object, as the little red the dinghy steadfastly pushes forward through storms, floods and wars. One shot, at the 2:10 mark in the film, shows the little boat resolutely thrusting forward upon the stormy seas, only to have its mast shattered in half; it’s as heartbreaking a moment as anything that could happen to a more conventional animated character with eyes, hands and legs.

The Little Boat: A Bittersweet Tale of Persistence and Adversity

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Children of the Storm: Five Years After Hurricane Katrina

Children of the Storm: Five Years After Hurricane Katrina

The unbelievable devastation of New Orleans is almost beyond human comprehension.  The virtually complete destruction of the entire city by Hurricane Katrina, the loss of huge numbers of lives, the ruination of the property and lives of so many, especially the poor and disadvantaged, is a tragedy of historically monumental proportions.

This year, photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally revisited two families five years after Hurricane Katrina and created this photo-essay about the effect of Katrina on children who are living along the Gulf Coast.

Children of the Storm: Five Years After Hurricane Katrina

In Katrina’s Wake: Portraits of Tragic Loss

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A Remembrance of Katrina’s Wake: Portraits of Tragic Loss

A Remembrance of Katrina’s Wake: Portraits of Tragic Loss

Photography by:  Chris Jordan

This weekend marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s ravages of New Orleans, a city that not long ago appeared to be completely lost.  Only five years have passed since rotting corpses were floating through the city’s streets, since hundreds of thousands of survivors sat in hotel rooms and shelters and the homes of relatives, finding out from news coverage that they had been forced to join the ranks of the homeless.

The unbelievable devastation of New Orleans is almost beyond human comprehension.  The virtually complete destruction of the entire city by Hurricane Katrina, the loss of huge numbers of lives, the ruination of the property and lives of so many, especially the poor and disadvantaged, is a tragedy of historically monumental proportions.

Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast with devastating force at daybreak on Aug. 29, 2005, pounding an area that included the fabled city of New Orleans and wreaking large-scale damages on neighboring Mississippi.  In all, more than 1,700 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of others were displaced.  Packing a terrifying punch of 145-mile-an-hour winds when it made landfall, the category-4 storm left more than a million people in three states without power and submerged highways even hundreds of miles from its center.  The hurricane’s storm surge pushed a 29-foot wall of water ashore when the hurricane struck the Gulf Coast, which was the highest level ever measured in the United States.  Levees failed in New Orleans, resulting in political and social upheavals that continue a half decade later.

Damage, costing billions of dollars, has made Katrina one of the costliest storms on record.  In New Orleans, floodwaters from the breached levee rose to rooftops in the poorest neighborhoods, and in many areas residents were rescued from roofs of homes that had become uninhabitable.  The hurricane’s roaring winds stripped 15-foot sections off the roof of the Superdome, where as many as 10,000 city residents had been forced to take shelter.  An exodus of hundreds of thousands left the city, many becoming refugees, finding shelter with nearby relatives or restarting their lives in states as far away as Massachusetts and Utah.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper is maintaining detailed Hurricane Katrina Anniversary coverage, as well as an extensive archive of historical news coverage and photographs about Katrina, which can be accessed here.

A Photographic Essay: The Ghost Town

A Photographic Essay: In the Wake of Katrina

Slide Show: A Remembrance of Katrina’s Wake/Portraits of Tragic Loss

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

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Photo of the Day: Home, Sweet Home

Photo of the Day: Home, Sweet Home

Photography by:  Joseph O. Holmes, NYC

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.

John Howard Payne, 1823

Motley Crue and Chester Bennington: Home, Sweet Home

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A Post-Katrina Apocalypse: Glory at Sea

A Post-Katrina Apocalypse: Glory at Sea

Glory at Sea is an acclaimed narrative short, which has garnered ten film festival awards this year, including at The Boston Independent Film Festival, The CineVegas International Film Festival, The New Orleans Film Festival, The Woodstock Film Festival and The SXSW Film Festival. The 26-minute short film (I use the designation “short film” advisedly) follows a rather unkempt and unruly fleet of heartbroken refugees through the midst of the human devastation in post-Katrina New Orleans. This one and a half year long collaborative project by Benh Zeitlin (director) and members of the Court 13 film collective has brought forth a narrative film that reveals a rare mutually interactive blend of contemporary dance/movement, cinematography that is richly packed with a grandly sweeping panorama of visual detail, and brilliantly subtle interpersonal gestures by the Court 13 ensemble group of performers.

The underlying music score is an integral component of this film’s mythic narrative, which surges from the depths of epic senseless human tragedy to a doggedly determined communal passion to achieve a transmuting sense of resurrection and deliverance from the catastrophic devastation. Glory at Sea boldly confronts a monumental tragedy that vividly displays the fact of our human mortality, as well as the inevitable loss of our dreams for the future (the ghosts of loved ones, banished to live underwater for eternity). The raggedy, raucous New Orleans characters in Glory at Sea boldly turn away from their overwhelming of feelings of vulnerability, courageously responding instead with a communal bond to a renewed and feverish commitment to love and hope.

The passionate call for hope and a common cause is expressed by the film’s ensemble through an emotionally inspiring synthesis of a socially important narrative, the performers’ sense of movement that conveys through even the most subtle interpersonal gestures their deep commitment to mutually shared social needs and responsibilities, and fascinating cinematography with an acute attention to visual detail. When a pinch of insanity and an ongoing tone of understated comical irony are added to all of this, you end up with an experience that is a musically visual delight. In this way, as the film progresses it takes on a lyrical quality. An old phrase describes beautiful and appealing speech as “Music to My Ears.” Well, Glory at Sea ended up “Dancing Behind My Eyelids.” The twenty-five minutes spent deeply engrossed in this narrative was timeless. Hence an appreciation for Michael Tulley’s comments about Glory at Sea in Hammer To Nail:

“Every once in a rare, long while, a film appears with such a sweeping gust of rejuvenation that it has the power to restore not only one’s faith in cinema but in humanity as a whole. These miracles-some minor, some major-are truly blessed creations. They exist on a timeless plane, feeling both brand new and classic at the very same time. They are worlds unto themselves, borne out of a passionate vision, torn from the spiritual recesses of an individual’s soul and transferred miraculously onto the big screen. Benh Zeitlin’s Glory at Sea is one of these miracles. If ever a short film deserved to be written about as a feature, Glory at Sea is it. Which is what makes Zeitlin’s epic spectacle even more stunning. By the time the film’s closing credits appear-after just twenty-five minutes-it feels like one has been taken on a deeply lasting feature-length journey.”

Finally, a number of filmmakers from the Court 13 film collective, the team behind Glory At Sea, worked on Barack Obama’s campaign for months. For the final weeks of the presidential campaign, President-elect Barack Obama adopted the poignant social message of Glory at Sea’s inspirational music score. A music video of the score used on the Obama campaign, “Elysian Fields,” by Benh Zeitlin and Dan Romer, is presented below. In addition, the full version of Glory at Sea is provided for you.

A Post-Katrina Apocalypse: Glory at Sea

Barack Obama Campaign Music: Glory at Sea/Elysian Fields

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