My name is Brian Fairbanks and I have a story about New Orleans.
In the years since Hurricane Katrina, the people, the restaurants, the roads, and even the water quality are recovering here. The residents are still diehard supporters of their city, hopeful despite the fact that they have little reason for it. Meanwhile, while much of the city is back to normal, there are new problems: for example, gang membership is growing and rent are skyrocketing.
As an off-and-on/part-time resident of the city, I have suffered on the sidelines for too long. Beginning on New Year's Day 2009, I started writing the story of the resilience and despair I was seeing. Out came a screenplay called "Black Water" about Jordan Green, a ten-year-old boy who comes home one day to find his family has been evicted... and are nowhere to be found. (This, like most everything that happens in the film, is a metaphor for the storm and its aftermath.) From there, he grows up too fast on the lawless streets of an abandoned city -- a city that is never named but is clearly NOLA -- his life reaching absurd, dark-comic and adult-like proportions: he learns to drive, snags a girlfriend, and becomes an alcoholic... all while a city social worker gives up everything to find and save him.
The idea would be to tell this story using an all-volunteer cast and crew, entirely derived of local people tied to the material because of their own experiences. The film can be shot cheaply and modestly because of its indie ambitions, but it will certainly need funding for insurance, jambalaya (or what have you) for lunch, essential props, and so forth.
To do that, I would offer donors various levels of rewards -- from a DVD to a special thanks to even a walk-on role in the film. After all, most of the actors will be well-rehearsed amateurs, so they will be in good company. Drawing them in will, of course, take spreading the word -- through my blog, Facebook, and an extended network of filmmakers, lawyers, and former residents of New Orleans who will do anything to bring hope and encouragement to a city bogged down in black water.