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.
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.
TANIELMA DA COSTA
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.
DR. CLINT WILLSON
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.
CHIEF LORA ANN CHAISSON
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.
GENEVIEVE “EVE” BUTLER
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.
DR. ROBIN MCDOWELL
is a fellow at the History Design Studio at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.
DR. JELAGAT CHERYUIOT
is a Professor of the Practice in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane’s School of Science and Engineering.
ROY AND ANNIE BLANCHARD
, natives of the Atchafalaya Basin, are river boat tour guides and crawfishermen.
DR. TAMMY GREER
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.