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Katrina documentary
Film released on five-year anniversary of hurricane

A new, award-winning documentary, “Not Broken,” illustrates the pain, struggle and near-death experiences of some who faced the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina five years ago, and, yet, in the midst of turmoil, mustered the courage to help one another.

“This powerful, moving documentary of the Katrina disaster is a testament to the courage and integrity of the human spirit,” said Kris Kristofferson, whose song “Shipwrecked in the ’80s” is included in the feature documentary’s soundtrack. “Not Broken” has been released on DVD and the Internet Dec. 15 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the natural disaster that struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

“Our documentary is different from the films released thus far about Katrina,” says producer-director Fr. Armando Ibáñez, OP. “Ours is about the critical fabric of our humanity—spirituality and faith. Faith, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or of whatever tradition, helped people through the catastrophe, and is helping them heal and rebuild,” said Ibáñez.

The federal, state, and local governments failed miserably, according to those interviewed in the documentary, produced by Pluma Pictures, Inc., a non-profit film production company. The American Red Cross’s response was criticized as sluggish, and, in Dallas, refused to allow Roman Catholic priests to minister to their flock, who had taken refuge at the Reunion Arena, according to the documentary. Had it not been for churches, synagogues, temples and people of faith, many more would have died.

“Not Broken” is about the horrific life-and-death ordeals and struggles some people faced at the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina, as well as their heroics. In the aftermath, some faced gross governmental incompetence, neglect, crime, racism and religious bigotry. Their faith, however, provided a reservoir of strength, not only for their survival, but in also aiding others.

The film has won a number of awards, including the Platinum Remi Award, WorldFest-Houston 2008, and the Magnificat Award from the International Catholic Film Festival, held in Minsk, Belarus. In addition, the documentary was runner up in the Top Documentary category at the AFIA International Film Festival 2008, held in Aarhus, Denmark, and won second place for Best Humanitarian Award, Bayou City Inspirational Film Festival 2008. “Not Broken” was also featured at the Teaneck International Film Festival, New York, and Earth Day 2008, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, New Orleans.

The documentary is available on DVD, Internet download via CreateSpace.com, and will be available on Amazon.com in January 2011.

Watch the trailer

Pluma Pictures, Inc., was founded in early 2001 and was granted non-profit status by the IRS in 2002. The production company’s roots date back to 1992 when Father Armando Ibáñez, OP, founded Pluma Productions, a subsidiary of the Southern Dominican Province, which commissioned him to produce films in keeping with the mandate issued by the world chapters of the Dominican religious order of the Roman Catholic Church. Father Armando is a Dominican friar and a member of the Southern Dominican Province.