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New York-based filmmaker Josh Grossberg said his gut-wrenching documentary on Hurricane Katrina that made its nationwide debut at Jay-Z's 40/40 Club last night isn't about politics or shock value: it's about inspiring.
Five years after the deadly storm battered the Gulf Coast, the filmmaker who dropped out of NYU grad school to complete the project, told Niteside during his free viewing party of "A Bridge Life: Finding Our Way Home" at the Chelsea club Monday night he wants others to feel moved to change the lives of others.
“If it inspires one person, 10 people, a thousand people to go out and make a difference, I am more than satisfied," said Grossberg, who said he felt compelled to begin the project after watching grisly scenes play out on TV. "We’ve done our job.”
“A Bridge Life” is about Dan Scheffer, a South Florida man who travels to the Houston Astrodome as soon as Katrina hit the Gulf area and finds seven people to bring to safety and never look back.
Scheffer and the Katrina survivors no doubt face a number of obstacles, including one victim who lies about living in Louisiana to take advantage of Scheffer’s hospitality, becomes estranged from the group and pleads guilty to the murder of "Curious George" director Allan Shalleck.
“Not everybody turned out okay,” Grossberg said. “That’s life. If you’re going to give, you give up your heart, not because you’re going to get anything in return.”
After the viewing in a brief Q&A, Grossberg made parallels to the earthquake and Haiti and the flood in Pakistan, encouraging people to get off their couches like Scheffer and help their community, no matter what obstacles come across. The film was produced by Michael Kier, Kevin Wilson and Jill Goldstein.
40/40’s manager was more than happy to offer a private room for the viewing. “We thought it was a worthwhile project that we wanted to be a part of in a small way,” said manager Tommy Rebello.