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In Association with
Mississippi Son Done Stepped on Some Toes:
New Documentary Labeled
"Political" and "Controversial" by Critics

When Emmy award winning filmmaker Don Wilson went to Gulfport, Mississippi, to get his mother out after Hurricane Katrina, he had no idea how bad it would be. “I saw the storm and the aftermath on TV,” Wilson says, “but you just can’t really take it in on a small screen. When I got there, and looked around, and saw everything was gone for miles and miles, the whole coast was obliterated, it was unbelievable. It still is.”

That’s when Don decided to make Mississippi Son (95 min.). But he didn’t get the real fire in his belly until he saw the media focus on New Orleans. “I couldn’t stand it,” Wilson explains. “I mean, what happened in New Orleans is bad, and I certainly don’t want to take anything away from those people. Lord knows, I’ve had my share of Hurricanes sitting by the flame at Pat O’Brien’s, and I couldn’t live without wandering into an out-of-the-way club and listening to a blind blues player wailing away on a Fender Telecaster. But the biggest natural disaster in American history wiped out the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast, and I barely see it covered in the national media.”

Add to that the facts that the government has done very little to help and the insurance companies have pretty much abandoned the coast, and you have the ingredients for a controversial documentary which is pretty much what Don Wilson serves up.

The film features interviews with such notables as the mayor of Gulfport, Brent Warr, who attacks the manner in which the insurance companies have done business. Similarly, prominent Gulf Coast entertainer-actor David Delk attacks the Bush administration for spending billions in Iraq while Mississippi residents are struggling to get by in tents and FEMA trailers – still, nearly two years after the storm.

Singer-songwriter Mr. Mark and Bay St. Louis Katrina debris artist Lori K. Gordon both document their struggles with FEMA, SBA, and the insurance companies. Right after the storm, promises were made to cut checks. Now, the checks still haven’t arrived, or people are receiving about ten percent of what they deserve or what they were promised.

“You know,” Don Wilson laments, “people think, ‘Hey, this story is over. It happened two years ago.’ But the reconstruction has barely started. Bureaucracy, red tape. The people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast have largely been ignored and abandoned. This documentary film seeks to shine a spotlight on the coast. I wanted the people of Mississippi to be able to tell their stories in their own words.”

The film also features a Mississippi style blues-rock soundtrack. Musicians and brothers Kim Hoyt and Bill Hoyt received grants from U2 guitarist The Edge’s Music Rising and The Grammy’s MusiCares. They composed and performed the music for the film on equipment and instruments bought with these two grants.

“Too bad everyone isn’t as helpful as Music Rising and MusiCares,” Don says. “The media, the insurance companies, and the government all need to get off their butts and help these people.”

March 2007

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