When Sylvania Franciscan Sister Judy Zielinski was putting together the recently released documentary We Will Not Be Moved, she was concerned with how to keep viewers engaged.
Assembling a documentary about the trials of six women in religious congregations who were trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina, she wanted to showcase more than just the event itself.
“I think my concern when I started this was how to keep viewers really interested and involved with the story. I knew it had to be something more than a rebuilding account,” she said.
As part of the documentary, she had the opportunity to interview sisters who lived in New Orleans, one of the areas that sustained major damages from the hurricane.
“The sisters that I interviewed were very willing to share from the heart and to really kind of expose their humanity to the viewers, because they really talked about the struggles that they went through,” she said.
Hurricane Katrina, which took place in 2005, was one of the strongest storms to impact the United States in the last 100 years, according to the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration. The hurricane caused destruction and disturbance along the central Gulf Coast states.
During the interview process, the other sisters shared with Sister Zielinski about how they questioned whether to rebuild at all.
“It's a message of great fidelity,” Sister Judy said. “They could have been justified to turn on their heels...yet none of them did that.”
As an editor and producer for NewGroup Media, Sister Judy is an experienced documentary producer. A 2009 film that she worked on, entitled Interrupted Lives, was a 1-hour documentary that focused on Catholic Sisters in Eastern Europe, who lived under communism. Research and interviewing had her traveling to countries such as Lithuania, Slovakia, and Hungary. She has also worked on projects in Israel and around various locations in the United States.
But with We Will Not Be Moved, she found a diverse set of challenges.
“From the perspective of writing and producing this, it was the sheer amount of story. It's very emotional and very powerful. I think one of the biggest challenges from my point of view is putting all of these stories together and making them fit into 57 minutes,” Sister Judy said.
“We were dealing with six different orders of Sisters...we were telling the stories. It was a pretty big cast of characters to be dealing with.”
The orders included the Ursuline Sisters, who arrived in New Orleans in 1727, Congregation of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Sisters of the Holy Family of New Orleans, Marianites of Holy Cross, Congregation of St. Joseph, and the Teresian Sisters. She said many of the sisters did not want to leave, because of the lengthy history of their congregations in the city.
We Will Not Be Moved, broadcast on local ABC stations in September, will be shown at 4 p.m. Nov. 18 in the Franciscan Center Theater on the campus of Lourdes University in Sylvania.
Contact Kelly McLendon at: email@example.com or 419-206-0356 or on Twitter at @MyTownSylvania.