C47Houston Flix Review:

"Flood Streets"



A group of people deal with trying to survive, make a living and a home in their own way in New Orleans a little over a year after the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. They are coping the best they can in this directorial feature motion picture by Joseph Meissner, called “Flood Streets”. 

Written by Helen Krieger, “Flood Streets” follows the tribulations of several people on Flood Street, New Orleans as they deal with power outages, condemned homes, stress, money, devastation, relationships and making it in a city that has seen better days. Determined to make things work, the movie focuses on three main characters.

Discordia, (aka: Ashley) played by Alma Maleckar, a young woman who travels on her three wheeler pedal bike and who, from the opening scene, is posting flyers for the Second Line for Social Justice and Solidarity event, similar to a wake with a parade, brass band, dancing but without the wake.

Matt, a writer (played by Joseph Meissner), who is coping with the lack of normalcy the best he can. His relationship with Liz is becoming strained with each power-outage and with the lack of the simple things we all take for granted like mail and newspaper delivery.

And, Madeline (played by Becky Stark), a pot-smoking, not so good real estate agent and musician who is assessing the homes in the 9th ward for developers in Los Angeles who want to convert the neighborhood to a developed planned community.

The characters interact with their environment the best they can all having come back to their homes and dealing with the loss of so many that were evacuated with a one-way ticket across America. This is their home. This is where they have found peace. An eclectic group of musicians, artists and characters they seek to make ends meet anyway they can in the backdrop of dilapidated neighborhoods.

The climax takes place during Thanksgiving when families come together. Not everyone wants to come home, not everyone sees eye to eye on what needs to be done or what to do. But, they give thanks for being able to live in their homes despite the problems they have and are experiencing.

Directed by Texas native, Joseph Meissner, “Flood Streets” is his directorial debut feature motion picture.  Technically the movie was pretty well made. Shot documentary style and on location in New Orleans, Louisiana, the director gives the audience a glimpse inside some of the homes that have been devastated and down the vacant streets that still remain vacant a year after tragedy strikes the state. 

Directing and Acting in this movie, Mr. Meissner does an outstanding job in showing some of the stress associated with coming home and living with limited city services.

Editing could have been a little tighter as there were some scenes that ran a little too long and really didn’t add anything to the story. One particular scene could have been cutout all together and didn’t add anything to the overall value of the movie. (Kids left alone and trying to set a fire, isn’t that believable especially when they are on the curb of a street).

Music from local bands and artists moved the movie nicely through transitions and scenes giving tone and atmosphere to an otherwise depressing sight that the director portrays in broken homes and desperation.

And, of course, the character Madeline played by musician Becky Stark took running time in performing a couple of pieces in this movie, and, in our opinion, didn’t need to be added and could have been cut, as it ran long and made the scene even more depressing.

The story itself was a little confusing to follow. Several stories were being told at the same time and references to whom they were and whom they were associated with were not readily apparent until later in the movie when there was, indeed, a connection between them all. Perhaps that was the message the writer and director were trying to convey – we are all in some way interconnected even though we may not seem to be. Of specific unimportance and something that was totally useless in this movie that could have been reworked was the reference to the constant use of marijuana. Not that we are opposed to it, but the particular importance the writer and director placed on its inclusion. We were not really sure whether there was relevance in its application in this movie or whether it was just a statement that the writer utilized as a personal belief. It really didn’t do anything to enhance the movie, aside from imputing a rebellious nature that the audience may pick up.

We have to say that “Flood Streets” was an interesting movie to watch. It actually showed a different side of New Orleans that one doesn’t always see in this type of movie and that is the average “white” side to the city. We say this as, even in the movie itself, the reference to Second Line for Social Justice and Solidarity event is described as an African-American tradition with a jazz band, dancing and similar to a wake except without the wake. Yet, at the actual event there is scarcely an African-American in sight. Which, in itself, could have been the point of the movie - that there was a deliberate and conscience effort to displace people from the city and move them with a one-way ticket out by evacuation using the hurricane as a pretext for this displacement. I don’t know. But, this was a good movie to see. Judge for yourself, pick up the movie and watch it. Support independent movie making and donate your funds to helping to make a movie. Be a producer.

TSIRS rating: C47Houston gives this movie a 4.3 out of 5 on the TSIRS scale

C47Houston News & Entertainment Magazine was able to grab video of both Director Joseph Miessner and Helen Krieger at the 2011 44th Annual Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival where they talked about their movie “Flood Streets”. You can see that video on our YouTube channel at:  http://youtu.be/m8HFWw_A3rI

Title: Flood Streets

Production Companies: Flood Streets LLC, The Hatchery Media

Running time: 84-minutes

Premiere: April 11, 2011. 44th Annual Worldfest-Houston, Houston TX.

Directed by: Joseph Meissner

Written by: Helen Krieger and based on her short stories

Produced by: Helen Krieger

Co-Producers: Joseph Meissner, Michelle Benoit, Glen Pitre

Editor: Rob Hebert

Sound Mixer: Josh Johnston

Director of Photography Miceal og O’Donnell

Music by: Becky Stark, The Panorama Jazz Band, Zydepunks, Debauche, Loren Murrell, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Casting: Becky Stark, Melissa Hall, Rachel Dupard, Asia Rainey, Aja Shattuck Becker, Ava Santana, Adella Gautier, Alma Maleckar, Ursaline Bryant, Elizabeth Dunnebacke, Ryan Reinike, David Jacobs, Sharon London, Debbie Morvant, Nick Thompson, Brent Henry, Marygoround, Clint Maedgen, Lance Nichols, Jacques Duffourc, a special appearance from Harry Shearer








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