Under Water’s Mercy

Directed by Sharon Hong
Visit Film Site: underwatersmercy.com
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Under Water’s Mercy follows a young woman’s journey to make a home in her Native American community during a cycle of man-made environmental disasters in Southeast Louisiana. Monique films her family as a way to connect with her culture- a culture at risk of disappearing. She videotapes her tough old grandmother, Matine, whacking branches with a machete, her charming but alcoholic father, Herbert, cleaning fish with a garden hose, and her elder cousin, Nacie, catching shrimp in a maze of bayous.
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Monique meets Mark Krasnoff, a Cajun actor who falls in love with her and her documentary project. Filming together, they reveal a history of oil exploitation, dredging, and canal building that threatens the Houma Indian’s ways of life. When Hurricane Katrina strikes, Mark and Monique begin an urgent project on the man-made causes of the catastrophe. After months of struggling to rebuild their lives, Monique loses her father – who embodied survival – to liver cancer. Meanwhile the aftermath’s apocalyptic reality pushes Mark deeper and deeper into a depression. A year after Katrina, Mark commits suicide by the Mississippi River.

Devastated by her loss, Monique returns to live with her grandmother and helps cultivate their land. She enrolls at Loyola University and begins publicly presenting her photographs and stories. When BP’s oil spill brings yet another disaster, Monique emerges as an ecological storyteller – a role in which she hopes to preserve a future for her community.
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Sharon Linezo Hong is a first-time filmmaker with both film theory and technical training from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Sharon’s passion for films grew in part from her experience working as a cooperative member of San Francisco’s Red Vic Movie House. She has completed several short personal and industrial pieces; Under Water’s Mercy is her first full-length documentary.

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