WKNO Will Air U of M, United Way Collaborative Katrina Documentary Aug. 19 University News
For release: August 4, 2008

For press information, contact Curt Guenther

A documentary about the experiences of people who fled from Hurricane Katrina will be broadcast on WKNO, Channel 10, the local PBS affiliate, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19, and again at 1 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20.  WKNO’s digital channel 10.2 (on Comcast as Channel 910) will also carry the program at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20.

The film focuses on Hurricane Katrina disaster relief offered to Gulf Coast residents who evacuated to the Memphis area and documents United Way’s relief effort as well as interagency cooperation.  The project is a collaborative effort between the Center for Multi Media Arts (CMA) at the University of Memphis’ FedEx Institute of Technology (FIT) and United Way of the Mid-South.  Eric Wilson, producer with the CMA, directed, shot, and edited the piece.

“Most people have moved on, and nobody talks about Katrina anymore,” said CMA director Michael Schmidt. “We wanted to make sure that people don’t forget about it, because the impact this disaster had on the people at the Gulf Coast, and, ultimately our community, didn’t just go away a year or so later.”

The needs of many of the thousands who fled the storm and its aftermath are still as real now as they were in September 2005, and they still require the continued support of agencies like United Way.

“What we’ve done with this documentary is gather a group of people who evacuated to Memphis after the storm and let them tell their stories,” Schmidt explained.

Their stories are not those of victims who want to be pitied, but those of people who grieve for their losses and are trying to start a new life; stories of brave, resourceful, self-determined, and caring people who risked their own lives to help others; stories of people who decided that they needed to be organized in order to get information to each other, thus creating the Displaced Citizens of the Gulf Coast (DCGC).

The focus of the documentary is on DCGC members ,because it is their experience and input that will help local and national disaster relief organizations understand what the survivors need and how to better prepare and coordinate disaster response between emergency aid organizations in the future.

For more information contact Michael Schmidt at 901-678-1777.


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