The first week of October 2005 when the drowned City of New Orleans let evacuees back in, New York filmmaker Rennik Soholt returned with them, aiming his small Panasonic 100A camera at homes and lives ruined by Hurricane Katrina.
One of them, 28-year-old Janna Firmin, her mouth covered with a bandana and wearing rubber gloves, he captured standing on her mattress in 12 feet of water, searching for a jewelry box her father gave her just before he died. It’s a rotted mess and Firmin leaves with only a few pictures and poems.
Soholt’s documentary, “Forced Change,” a passion project still in the works after 10 years, is getting a high-profile sneak peek on “PBS NewsHour Weekend.” The film follows four of the Riverside native’s friends who left the city they loved, many with little more than hopes and prayers.
“They’re all struggling in their own ways,” Soholt said in a phone interview. “Choosing to start over is hard enough. But when you’re forced to make do, it’s challenging.”