Virtuous Videos

KEEPERS OF THE MOUND

Ceremonial site, burial ground, midden, gateway, lighthouse, high ground: there are countless theories and explanations for the purpose of mounds, earthen structures built by native peoples of the United States.  Mounds hold more than just fragments of ancient life, they can teach us how ancient peoples settled, inhabited, and adapted to a rapidly evolving landscape.  For the Native American descendants of tribes that inhabited the delta, these spaces also are spiritual centers.  Hundreds of these ancient sites dot Louisiana’s coastline, and yet with rising sea levels, Louisiana is at risk of losing more and more mounds each year, and the wisdom they possess.  But cultural heritage is not a renewable resource.

Bayou Grand Caillou is one such mound at risk.  A giant mound on private property in Dulac, Louisiana, the mound at Bayou Grand Caillou is part of a rapidly changing ecosystem that is at risk of being washed away.  Today, this mound sits on property owned by several local lawyers and developers, not by the United Houma Nation or the local Dulac community.  Carla Solet, a member of the Houma and a Dulac local who lives next door to this mound, wants the mound protected from coastal land loss, but she also wants (legal) access to this sacred space.  For now, Carla and her family visit the site without permission, collecting palms to make baskets and spending time on land that holds deep meaning to their identity.  We follow the Solet family as they explore the meaning of the mounds in terms of their cultural heritage and reclaim the mound in a clandestine flag-planting ceremony.

Mounds were gathering sites for ancient peoples, a place to share knowledge and stories, and today they are a symbol for something that is in danger of being lost, both literally and figuratively, as Louisiana’s coast continues to dissolve.  As land disappears coastal communities rich in culture lose spaces and rituals, opportunities for people to come together, share and collect stories and artifacts to honor the land and its people’s history.  

KEEPERS OF THE MOUND was created with direct support from the Foundation from Louisiana and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Water/Ways program.  Directed by Katie Mathews, Camera by Justin Zweifach, Sound by Lukas Gonzales, Edit Paavo Hanninen.  Executive Producer Darcy McKinnon, Producer for LEH John Richie, for LEH Brian Boyles.

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REFUGE

Phan Plork emigrated to Buras, Louisiana, in the early 1980s to escape the brutal regime of the Khmer Rouge.  He now is part of a vibrant community of over 30 families of Cambodian descent in the heart of Plaquemines Parish.  He and other Cambodian and Vietnames fishermen are active parts of their community, but struggle to be engaged in the process of coastal restoration planning, due to cultural and language barriers.  As he looks towards the possibility of needing to move his family and community, becoming a refugee twice in his life, he wonders if his personal resilience will be enough to see his family, home and livelihood through.  REFUGE premiered at the 2017 New Orleans Film Festival.

REFUGE, featuring Phan Plork and Sandy Ngyuen.

Directed and produced by Katie Mathews

Camera by Biliana Grozdanova and Alex Glustrom

Edit by James Page

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MONIQUE VERDIN: signals::doc

Antenna::Signals-docs presented in partnership with NOVAC

As part of a series of short documentaries about local artists and activists who have participated in Antenna’s Signals live magazine events, NOVAC produced this short documentary portrait of the current work of Monique Verdin, St. Bernard native, citizen of the United Houma Nation and artistic activist whose works focus on her indigenous heritage, her relationship to place, and the impacts of environmental change and pollution on southern Louisiana.

Directed by Katie Mathews and Ikeem George, Camera by Justin Zweifach, Edit by Cameron Wheeless and Ikeem George.

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NOVAC premieres its 2017 MVPP Music Videos!

We are happy to premiere today three of the four music videos that NOVAC’s 3rd Annual Music Video Production Project has created with local musicians and bands! This project has been funded annually by the Jazz and Heritage Foundation and in partnership with WWOZ, and we are happy to be able to continue working with local musicians to develop original video content that can support their careers.  Check out our three videos below:

The Revelers, “Trip to the Moon” Music Video from NOVAC on Vimeo.

THE REVELERS, TRIP TO THE MOON

(dir Jillian Hall, written by Amanda Zapp & Jillian Hall, camera Abe Felix, puppets Amanda Zapp, puppeteering Clay Achee, edit Jillian Hall)

Produced in Baton Rouge and Lafayette

This handcrafted marionette puppet music video was made in a Baton Rouge garage with local crew. Going along with the playful nature of this swamp pop classic, the puppet characters travel from the juke joint to outer space to the surface of the moon all while being followed by a rougarou (the Cajun werewolf). Because Lafayette’s The Revelers were on tour all summer, they were thankful to have puppet versions of themselves to represent the band in the video.


LIL TEDDY, ONE DAY

(dir/edit Bob Weisz, Camera Sean O’Grady, Norman Lewis, Cierra Sutton, prod. Akasha Rabut and Garrett Bradley)

Produced in New Orleans, shot in the 8th ward

Lil Teddy has been in NOVAC’s youth media programming for the past few years. He and his friends, along with some talented adult mentors, produced this video featuring him and his family on his high school graduation day as part of NOVAC’s Creative Counsel after school program.

“Mialato Lenche Iabalka” – Blato Zlato from NOVAC on Vimeo.

BLATO ZLATO, MIALATO LENCHE LABALKA

(dir/prod/edit Biliana Grozdanova, camera Cameron Wheeless)

Produced in New Orleans, shot in City Park and the French Quarter

With over 170k views on facebook, we can finally say, NOVAC is big in Bulgaria!  New Orleans based Balkan folk band, Blato Zlato recorded a traditional Bulgarian folk song that tells the story of a young woman being tricked into marriage. Filmed in City Park and the French Quarter, the music video shows off a surprisingly strong Balkan folk community that exists in New Orleans.

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YES! for NOLA Libraries

NOVAC and Breathe Video Nation partnered to help the Yes! for NOLA Libraries campaign express how important libraries are to a thriving community, in advance of a millage vote.

 

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Louisiana District Judges Association

NOVAC: Baton Rouge partnered with local filmmaker Teddy Smith to create a series of videos for the Louisiana District Judges Association, designed to help self-represented litigants be prepared for and navigate representing themselves in court.

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IMPACT 100, Greater New Orleans Foundation

NOVAC and Breathe Video Nation partnered with the Greater New Orleans Foundation to help three local organizations, the New Orleans Women’s Shelter, NAMI New Orleans and Eden House to create video pitches highlighting their work, as part of the IMPACT 100 Giving Circle. The NOWS video featured above was part of the pitch that helped secure the organization’s $100,000 grant from IMPACT 100.

 

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International School of Louisiana

NOVAC, filmmaker Ben Long and sound designer Ian Painter collaborated with the International School of Louisiana to create 12 videos in 3 languages designed to connect incoming teachers from around the world with the practices and ethos of working at ISL. Big kudos to Ben Long for editing in three languages, only one of which does he speak!

 

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Collegiate Academies

NOVAC partnered with the Greenhouse Collective and the students of Collegiate Academies to help them explain, in their own words, some of the unique cultural practices at their schools.  Working to both capture the daily life experience on campus and replicate Collegiate’s unique branding style, we created a set of videos that Collegiate used in press releases, newsletters, on their web sites and on social media.

 

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Foundation for Louisiana, LEAD Program

NOVAC and Breathe Video Nation partnered with the Foundation for Louisiana to document their LEAD program, which trains a diverse group of community organizers in the knowledge and skills they need to accomplish their goals, and then allows them to make grants to local organizations whose work supports their community development. In addition to filming the workshops and interviewing participants, NOVAC also participated in the workshop, teaching the participating organizations about digital storytelling and using video for advocacy campaigns.

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