Closed For Storm
Closed for Storm is a documentary following the story and abandonment of Six Flags New Orleans (Jazzland) amusement park. The park has been left abandoned for over a decade after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. The title of the film alone is clever, using the last words of the sign left abandoned at the entrance of the park before the storm. I think that's the perfect title to use for the film as it captures the story of what happened.
The film was made by Bright Sun Films and directed by Jake Williams. I’ve been watching Bright Sun Films youtube channel for years now, so I wanted to support his endeavours into the film world. I think his youtube videos are some of the most fascinating content on the platform. It’s also really cool that he is from Ontario like me because some of his videos are more local like the abandoned Toronto Mansions or the abandoned tv show set of Splatalot. I don’t really watch a lot of youtube so his channel is one of the few things I still watch on there regularly. I highly recommend checking out his channel if you like this film, Disney parks, or abandoned stuff in general. My favourite videos of his are probably the abandoned Disney attractions, so this film was very similar. The first video of his I ever watched was on Discovery Island and it's all very interesting and presented in a really captivating sorta way.
Back on track… the documentary is on another level compared to his youtube 20 min long episodes. I love the way they presented the amusement park and what a loss it is to see it in the state it is now. It takes you on a journey, and at the end of the day, you feel a connection to the park and the people that were impacted and involved. I like how they interviewed so many people from different aspects of the park. You have park enthusiasts, people who worked at the park, and people in the community. I think it really shows that this park incorporated the environment around it, and was a real part of the overall feel of the community.
It's crazy to watch this thriving amusement park submerged underwater and then in the state it is in today. In Toronto, we have a similar park called Canada's Wonderland and all I could keep thinking of was what this would look like here. Obviously its very different and we aren't by an ocean, but its the community around it. In the end, one of the people they spoke to who used to work at the park was talking about how he would look over his shoulder as he drove by and looked at the rides running and I think anyone who has ever driven past an amusement park knows the feeling. This park went from being a beautiful landmark to an absolute eyesore.
It made me feel bad for the community and the people who live there today. They were promised such beauty and what they got was an eyesore. They have already been through so much and it's just one more thing in their lives to see destroyed. It’s one huge, constant reminder of Hurricane Katrina in their backyard. The fact that nothing has been done about the property for so long is unfair to the residents and for the city. I like how the documentary focused in on the long lasting impact on residents today and I think that was very important.
I like that they did a combination of the traditional documentary style with the exploration of the park. It makes it feel more personal when you see the people who are making the film and the people who were involved with it in the first place. I like that they started with the history of the park, the people/community, then went into the natural disaster and how it affected people, and finally, where the park is now and what little is being done to fix it. Sometimes documentaries like these can get very confusing and the ordering of events can get blurry. I found that was not the case with this documentary; it was so well organized and directed.
I loved this documentary. It was a lot better than I was expecting. I was expecting a very amateur film, more like a glorified youtube video. But I was pleasantly surprised and I think the project is very special. It’s cool to see the success and attention it's gotten given how small the film is. I definitely recommend this film for people who are fascinated by abandoned stuff. If you enjoy the film make sure to check out his youtube channel Bright Sun Films. I’m a big fan of his work and this was his best project yet. The film Closed For Storm is available wherever you rent movies, I watched it by renting it on iTunes.