New film tells South Mississippi's Katrina story

By Al Showers - bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The latest Katrina documentary is now out on DVD. "Mississippi Son: A film maker's journey home" is making its way around the film festival circuit, and has already won more than a dozen awards. The movie explores the cultural struggles for survival following the storm.

Los Angeles film maker Don Wilson said he decided he had to tell the Katrina story just days after the storm when he returned to Biloxi to check on his mother.

"I came to get her out after the storm. She stayed by herself. She's 80-years-old, or was at the time," Wilson said.

Wilson said he just couldn't get the devastation off his mind, even after he was back in California. The place he grew up in was just gone, and he thought the rest of world had no idea.

"As time went on, all we heard about was New Orleans and it hurt me. I got fed up with it. And my wife, who's a screen writer, said, 'You've got to do a movie about it.'"

It took Wilson and his crew about a year and a half to produce the film. He said he was determined to show the entire picture of Katrina's fury.

"It also shows that what we see in a 30 second sound bite on national news is not the truth, or at least it's not the whole story. And I think people sit down and watch this thing for 93 minutes and they are amazed at what really happened here and how the federal government, in my opinion and in a lot of people's opinion, sort of dropped the ball, maybe even turned their back on Mississippi."

The soundtrack for the film was written and scored by South Mississippi musicians. Hancock County resident Kim Hoyt was musical director on the project.

"In the film, the Mayor of Biloxi said, 'You just go 'til you can't go no more.' That's kind of how it was with me," Hoyt said. "The writing, I was in the middle. I had gotten my house gutted and mucked out and kind of sealed the doors up when I went to Los Angeles to work on the film, to do this music. And it was kind of like I was experiencing what I was experiencing and musically it was just kind of coming out of me."

Hoyt and all of the other musicians who worked on the film lost everything in the storm. So this is their story too, one that Don Wilson wanted told.

"It was also one of those things where you wake up and you have a purpose you have to do something. That was this film for me. It was one thing in my life that I had to do," Wilson said.

By the way, Wilson started his career right here at WLOX as a news producer. He went on to do music videos for super stars like Michael Jackson and Bon Jovi, and worked on television shows like Barney Miller and Mr. Belvedere.

The soundtrack for the film is climbing the charts and can currently be found on i-Tunes. To find out more about the film, call (601) 408-5986 or visit the following websites: