Winner 2006

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts

HBO Documentary Films in association with 40 Acres

Stunning images and candid interviews speak for themselves in When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, an uncompromising analysis of the events that precede and follow Hurricane Katrina’s assault on New Orleans. Director Spike Lee tells the story with an unparalleled diversity of voices and sources, from mothers who lost children, to federal, state and local officials, to residents of the infamous FEMA trailers. His documentary’s comprehensive coverage indicts the government’s colossal failures in engineering, in crisis management and in providing for the residents of New Orleans in the storm’s aftermath. In so doing, he reminds us how much we have to learn from this national tragedy and how much work is yet to be done. In the midst of so much physical and emotional devastation, Lee still manages to capture the beauty that remains in New Orleans. He illuminates the vibrant culture of the city, allowing the hope of its people and the soul of its music to speak for the strength of the town’s character. An epic document of destruction and broken promises and a profound work of art, When the Levees Broke receives a Peabody Award.


Executive producers: Sheila Nevins, Jacqueline Glover (Supervising for HBO). Producers: Spike Lee, Sam Pollard. Director: Spike Lee.