Hollow Tree follows three teenagers coming of age in their sinking homeland of Louisiana. For the first time, they notice the Mississippi River’s engineering, stumps of cypress trees, and billowing smokestacks. Their different perspectives — as Indigenous, white, and Angolan young women — shape their story of the climate crisis.


This film invites three young women, who did not previously know each other, to learn with me and my filmmaking team, and their respective communities. They travel to different sites along the Mississippi River, where they engage in dialogue with engineers, activists, and Indigenous leaders. The idea was to use filmmaking as a classroom, and to develop a documentary practice for the climate crisis. As I encourage the young people in my film to notice their surroundings, they begin to imagine Louisiana's past — its history of slavery, Indigenous dispossession, and colonization — and, by extension, Louisiana's future. The one that they will experience and help to shape.


Kira Akerman


Kira Akerman lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, and works as an educator and documentary filmmaker. Hollow Tree is her debut feature film, and won a Jury Prize at its premiere at The New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF). It was selected for the Sundance Institute’s 2019 Talent Forum, The Climate Story Lab, and The Gotham Documentary Lab. Previously, Kira directed and produced the short “Station 15,” (PBS, 2017), winner of an Audience Award at the New Orleans Film Festival. Screenings included a Smithsonian exhibit, Sheffield Doc/Fest, The Climate Museum, the UN Global Climate Summit, and DOCNYC. Kira directed and produced the short, “The Arrest,” (“The Atlantic,” 2018). Screenings included The Camden International Film Festival, MOMA, and The Ford Foundation Gallery. Prior to directing, Kira worked on art departments, including a visual effects unit mentored by Doug Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey), and as a producer for commercials and shorts, including “In the Wake” (dir. Cauleen Smith). Kira currently works with the educational nonprofit Ripple Effect, which is pioneering water literacy in k-12 education, and the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane University, an interdisciplinary, place-based institute that promotes the understanding of New Orleans and the Gulf South region.

Monique Walton


Monique Walton is an independent producer of fiction films and documentaries. She produced Annie Silverstein’s debut feature Bull, which premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival – Un Certain Regard, and was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards. Bull is currently being released by Samuel Goldwyn Films and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions. She produced the documentary feature Hollow Tree, directed by Kira Akerman, which is set to premiere at the 2022 New Orleans Film Festival. Other credits include Jesse Klein’s We’re Still Together and Pahokee, directed by Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan. She has produced numerous short films, including Silverstein’s “Skunk”, winner of the jury award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival- Cinéfondation. Her short films, “Dark Matters” and “The Becoming Box”, were recently featured on the Criterion Channel as part of the Afrofuturism program. Walton’s films have been supported by Cinereach, The Sundance Institute, San Francisco Film Society, Austin Film Society, International Documentary Association, and Film Independent.

Chachi Hauser


Along with Hollow Tree, Chachi Hauser is producing Dea Gjinovci and Antoine Goldet’s Sisters Act, an international feature documentary in production with support from Field of Vision, Fork Films, and the Swiss Federal Office of Culture. Previously, she produced the short film “The Rat” (2019 Sundance Film Festival) and was associate producer of Netflix/POV documentary Roll Red Roll (2018 Tribeca Film Festival). She has received numerous fellowships, including the 2019 Sundance Talent Forum, the 2019 Southern Producers Lab, the 2020 The Gotham Documentary Lab, and the 2022 Hot Docs Dealmaker Forum. Chachi’s writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her first book, It’s fun to be a person I don’t know, was published by University of Nebraska Press in March 2023.

Meryl O'Connor


Meryl O’Connor is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and editor. She’s written and directed films that have screened in museums and festivals internationally, including the Cannes Film Festival. As an editor, she focuses primarily on documentaries focused on environmental and social justice issues. She has edited films that have been featured on “The Atlantic,” PBS, as well as in film festivals, including DOC NYC, New Orleans Film Festival, Seattle Int. Film Fest, and the Vancouver Int. Film Festival. She received her MFA from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and currently works as a Professor of the Practice in the film program at Fairfield University.

Isidore Bethel


Isidore Bethel is a filmmaker and educator. Films he has edited and produced include Iliana Sosa’s What We Leave Behind (SXSW), Laurent Bécue-Renard’s Of Men and War (Cannes), Daniel Hymanson’s So Late So Soon (True/False), Juan Pablo González’s Caballerango (IDFA), Juan Manuel Sepúlveda’s La Balada del Oppenheimer Park (Cinéma du Réel), Dominique Cabrera’s Grandir (ACID Cannes), Merete Mueller’s “Blue Room” (AFI Fest), and Toby Bull’s “Some Kind of Intimacy” (Sundance London). Those films have received support from the Ford Foundation, Sundance Institute, and Field of Vision and have screened in theaters in the US, France, and Mexico, as well as on Netflix, POV, and Op-Docs. One of Filmmaker’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2020 and a member of the Paris LGBTQ+ Film Festival jury in 2022, Isidore has directed two features, Liam (Paris LGBTQ+ FF Jury Prize) and Acts of Love (Hot Docs). He has taught at La Fémis, Sarah Lawrence College, and Parsons Paris.

Free Feral


free feral works with sound, song and story to explore cultural technologies of survival and memory. In addition to their work as an audio producer, they have scored dance, theatre, and film projects. In 2020 they cofounded Alphabet Sound Observatory, which offers free and affordable access to quality home recording equipment, mentorship, and training opportunities to BIPOC women and gender variant folk in New Orleans. They are currently pursuing an MFA in Documentary expression from the University of Mississippi.

Gris Jordana


Gris Jordana studied at Barcelona’s ESCAC film school and at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore. After beginning her career in documentaries, she has gone on to make more than fifteen feature films in Africa, Latin America, the USA, and Europe. She received the Best Photography award from “OtrosCines” for Pozoamargo (2015). Clara Roquet’s short film El Adiós (2015) was part of the official selection in Toronto, Telluride, and Clermont-Ferrand, and won Best Photography at the Cortogenia Festival in 2016. Since then, she has shot big productions such as Las niñas de Cristal (2021) but also non-commercial films with interesting directors such as Carla Simon, Después también (2018), and Clara Roquet. She won Best Cinematography at FICCAT for the feature La Vida sense la Sara Amat (2018). She has recently received the Best Cinematography Award at the Gaudí Awards 2022 by the Catalan Film Academy for her exceptional work on Clara Roquet’s new feature Libertad. In TV series her credits include: Sé Quién Eres (2017), Benvinguts a la familia (2018) and Días de Navidad (2019) and the new sensation Veneno (2020).

Maxime Kathari


After graduating from the HEAD (University of Art and Design, trajectory Filmmaking) in Switzerland and being selected for multiple festivals with his short “+1”, Maxime Kathari moved to Paris to work as Director and Director of Photography. In 2015, he received the Best Swiss Camera Award at the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur Festival for his short “O som da casa” (2016 International Film Festival Rotterdam), which he shot, edited and directed. In 2017, he made his first feature-length documentary as cinematographer (Wake Up On Mars, directed by Dea Gjinovci, Tribeca Film Festival) and, in parallel with short fiction film projects, he became a prolific cinematographer for commercials, especially for the Chanel and LVMH groups. In 2019, he shot the Sundance-supported feature documentary Hollow Tree. Variety writes “cinematographer Maxime Kathari films with stunning serenity.” Maxime’s first feature Materre is currently in development.

Paavo Hanninen


Paavo Hanninen is a New Orleans-based writer/director/cinematographer. Born and raised in Alabama and a graduate of UT-Austin’s MFA program, Paavo’s work has been shown around the world, from Idaho to Brazil. As a cinematographer, he has shot for projects that have been shown at festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, Rotterdam, and SXSW, and on Netflix, HBO, and Hulu among others. As a writer/director, currently Paavo is in pre-production on his debut narrative feature, Remote View, which was a semi-finalist for the Almanack Writers Nantucket Screenwriters Colony.

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grew up ‘down the bayou’ in Houma, Louisiana, and is currently enrolled in Nicholls University, where she is studying business.


grew up in Lafayette, Louisiana. She recently finished her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts at Louisiana State University.


moved with her family to Baton Rouge, Louisiana from Angola when she was six. She’s currently a dual major of engineering and French at Louisiana State University.


is an urban designer, researcher, and educator. He is a co-founder and co-leader of the Water Leaders Institute and Civic Studio, a cooperative focused on civic dialogue, multi-disciplinary storytelling, and equitable planning and design practices.


is the director for the Center for River Studies and a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The Water Institute of the Gulf at Louisiana State University.


is a tour guide at the Whitney Plantation Museum.


is the Principal Chief of the United Houma Nation.


is a shrimper and member of the United Houma Nation.


is a citizen of the United Houma Nation, and now Campaign Representative for the Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign with the Sierra Club.


is an environmental activist from Freetown, Louisiana and a member of the community-based organization H.E.L.P. (Humanitarian Enterprise of Loving People) Association.


is the Communications Director for the Louisiana Environmental Action Network.


is a fellow at the History Design Studio at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.


is a Professor of the Practice in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane’s School of Science and Engineering.


, natives of the Atchafalaya Basin, are river boat tour guides and crawfishermen.


is the director of the Center for American Indian Research and Studies (CAIRS) at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) Telenutrition Center Investigator.


Coming Soon!