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.
Hollow Tree's creative advisor, Ken Burns, calls it “extraordinary" and "asks all of us to think differently about the communities in which we live and the environments that we must respect.”
Kira Akerman, Director
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 the New Orlean Film Festival. Her recent essay Filmmaking as a Classroom: A Documentary Practice for the Climate Crisis describes her and her team's process. Hollow Tree was selected for the Sundance Institute’s 2019 Talent Forum, the Gotham Lab, and the Climate Story Lab. Previously, she directed and produced the short “Station 15,” (PBS, 2017), winner of an Audience Award at the New Orleans Film Festival and The Reel South Award at Indie Grits. 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 in 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 works as a media and learning consultant 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.
Monique Walton, Producer
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, Producer
Along with Hollow Tree, Chachi 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, is forthcoming with University of Nebraska Press in March 2023.
Jolene Pinder, EP
Pinder is a professor at Tulane University. Previously, she was the Executive Director of Kartemquin Films, as well as a New Orleans-based documentary producer. She formerly served as the Executive Director of #CreateLouisiana and as the Executive Director of the New Orleans Film Society—the producer of the Oscar-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival—for six years.
Hayden Reilly, EP
Hayden Reilly is an artist with an emphasis on crafts. Through her communal studio, Mehle Studios in Arabi, New Orleans and residency HOUSEofCARDS in Arnaudville, she cultivates nurturing spaces for artists to work. She particularly aims to elevate the artwork of women LGBTQ artists, and to make their creative pursuits more possible.