“It’s only January, and we aren’t even past this year’s Oscars yet, but I’ll go out on a limb right now and say that I fully expect to see this film nominated for an Oscar next year, and if that happens, it will absolutely deserve to be there.”
This astonishing documentary uses camcorder footage like “Cloverfield,”but the monster is real: Hurricane Katrina and the uncaring governmentresponse that followed. Directors Carl Deal and Tia Lessin made thefind of the century when they met Kimberly and Scott Roberts, whorecorded their experience in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. TheRoberts’ experiences, blended with footage of the couple’s journey awayfrom New Orleans and back, are an emotional testament to survival andhope.
“. . . this indelible portrait of New Orleans before, during and after Hurricane Katrina through the eyes of a force of nature named Kimberly Rivers Roberts and her husband Scott Roberts. Gifted filmmkers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal stick it to our absent government and in Kim – who raps her feelings in a voice that demands and deserves a record contract – they have found a human face to put on a national tragedy. Superb in every department.”
“The romping, stomping, electrified-house vibe at the premiere of this New Orleans documentary was one thing…a transformative story about passion, resilience and heroism among the poorest residents of America’s most downtrodden city.”
. . . the behind-the-camera artistry is handled by the extraordinary team of Tia Lessin and Carl Deal. Trouble the Water is a documentary that will pin you to your seat. It’s an account of Hurricane Katrina from the inside.
In the age of reality TV, where no live unscripted footage ever comes across as truly genuine but performed as “ideas” of reality, Trouble the Water and its brutally intimate journey of two survivors feels rather bracing. It’s a reminder that camcorders are not just toys. And telling your story to the camera is not just exhibitionism. These pervasive American objects and habits can record the truth of experience just as well they can record people lip-synching to pop songs for YouTube. Sometimes they can capture history as it is lived. Trouble in Water is still not reality per se. You’re aware that the footage you’re watching has been edited and scored, and decisions have been made in the telling. But I’ll be damned if Kimberly (Black Kold Madina!), your expressive guide, isn’t keeping it real . . .
. . . it was a documentary filmed a little closer to home that delivered on a truly exceptional level. Trouble the Water was directed by Tia Lessin and Carl Deal and tells the extraordinary story of Kimberly and Scott Rivers, a couple living in the 9th Ward who rescued a large number of fellow residents when Hurricane Katrina struck . . .
. . . a devastating firsthand document and a potent indictment of bureaucratic negligence.
“. . . one of those electrifying, emotional, unforgettable experiences that captures Sundance at its very best, . . . Captures a tale of thrilling human drama, terrible tragedy and unbelievable heroism among some of America’s most stigmatized and downtrodden people . . . No human being I can imagine could watch “Trouble the Water” and not be overwhelmed by grief and joy, and humbled by one’s sudden awareness of one’s own prejudices about the lives, passions and dreams of poor people.”
Kimberly Rivers, the amazing woman at the heart of “Trouble theWaters,” a documentary about Katrina that has been a huge hit, took abit of time out from Sundance to head down to Salt Lake City and givebirth gave birth to Skyy Kaylen Rivers Roberts, 7 lb, 1 oz. at 6:15this morning. New snow on the mountain and new life in our midst. It’sa lovely day in Park City.
Hurricane Katrina documentary “Trouble the Water” drew a sustained standing ovation following its world premiere Sunday afternoon. The Sundance in-competition pic, which was directed and produced by longtime Michael Moore collaborators Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, featured harrowing footage shot during the storm by 9th Ward resident Kimberly Rivers Roberts (think a real-life version of “Cloverfield” with Katrina subbing for the destructive monster).
Roberts, who was on hand with husband Scott Roberts, told the enthusiastic audience that she bought the camera for $20 about a week before the mammoth storm. “The purpose of this film is to let people know how it really happened,” she said. Exec producer Danny Glover, who also fielded post-screening questions from a still full house, said “We cannot let New Orleans become a template for all inner cities in this country”
Telling their story: Couple’s raw footage key to Hurricane Katrina documentary ‘Trouble the Water’
Kenneth Turan, LA Times
SUNDANCE has always had a real “come-as-you-are” attitude, but itsunlikely anyone has ever shown up as pregnant as Kim Roberts. “Ninemonths and two weeks and I still made it,” she says with pride. Shetook the journey from New Orleans with her doctor’s approval because“it’s an opportunity for me to get the story out. I had to make it, byany means necessary.