Competition Documentary Features
Bury the Hatchet
DIRECTED BY AARON C. WALKER
USA, 2011, 86 MIN
Generations after Native Americans offered safe harbor to runaway slaves in New Orleans, their African-American descendants sustain a traditional tribute to their protectors on Mardi Gras and St. Joseph’s Night. On these sacred days, the Big Chiefs step off their porches in elaborate feathers, embroidery, and beading to summon their tribes—all just a few blocks away from the tourist trade on Bourbon Street but it might as well be a world away. What follows historically is a celebration of authentic passion and a tribute to a hidden hierarchy, where the Chiefs ascend to their positions through hard work, creativity, and community sanction. All of this—in the way of NOLA—is unofficial but absolutely central to the life of the community. But even traditions as powerful as this cannot necessarily withstand competition from the digital age, the police, warring tribes, and the breaking of the levees. BURY THE HATCHET takes the audience behind the scenes and through the vast history of the Mardi Gras “Indians” and their great Chiefs (who may truly be the hardest working and “prettiest” men in town), and shares the culture as well as the extraordinary music that underscores this captivating and hidden corner of America.
Aaron C. Walker (Bury the Hatchet) has worked extensively in the New Orleans documentary and music community as cinematographer, director, and editor on projects with a range of NOLA legends as well as directed music videos for The Blind Boys of Alabama, Pearl Jam, and others. He has also filmed and edited behind-the-scenes featurettes for films. A graduate of The American University of Paris with a B.A. in European History, he also has an M.F.A. in Film from The University of New Orleans.
DIRECTED BY DREA COOPER AND ZACKARY CANEPARI
USA, 2011, 10 MIN
“Growing old is not for sissies!” As it turns out, neither is synchronized swimming.