After the Storm, 2015
Andrew Beck Grace
Interactive documentary, 15 minutes
After the Storm is a unique interactive documentary essay that tells a first-person story of life in the wake of a massive natural disaster. Written as a letter to future disaster survivors, it is a universal story of survival, healing and resilience.
On the afternoon of April 27, 2011, a half-mile wide tornado plowed through the middle of Tuscaloosa, a small southern college town in central Alabama. It touched down about a quarter of a mile outside the city and mangled its way nearly six miles through the heart of town. A half-mile wide when it touched down, it got wider and eventually destroyed 4,700 homes, damaged thousands more, injured over 1,500 people, and took out scores of the city’s businesses. Somehow, miraculously, it killed only 50 people.
Yet as local filmmaker Andrew Beck Grace found out in the days after the storm, numbers, adjectives, and even images only go so far in describing what it means to wake up to discover your world completely rearranged. After the Storm tells the story of what happens after the storm passes, after the media leaves town, and after the adrenaline subsides. This interactive essay is not so much about the how and why of the tornado the filmmaker lived through, but rather about that central question all of us face after living through something traumatic, namely: how do we make sense of it all?
Andrew Beck Grace is a nonfiction filmmaker based in Alabama. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and on PBS’s Independent Lens. His ITVS-funded film Eating Alabama (2012) premiered at SXSW, was screened in over 40 festivals worldwide, and was awarded the Best Documentary award by the James Beard Foundation. His short film A Call from Selma (2015) was published by The New York Times as part of its Op-Docs series, and his interactive doc After the Storm (2015, a co-production of ITVS, PBS, and The Washington Post) was selected for the Sheffield Doc Fest and DOK Leipzig; it was recently featured at the Magnum Foundation’s “Photography, Expanded” symposium. He directs the Program for Nonfiction Storytelling at the University of Alabama.
Writer, director and producer: Andrew Beck Grace
Creative director: Alex Wittholz
Creative technologist: Mike Robbins
Lead programmer: Daniel Sundy
Animation: Matt Brushett
Developers: Lain Campbell, Adrian Dávila-Zúñiga
Producer: Heather Grieve
Supervising producer: Cathy Fischer
Executive producers: Sally Jo Fifer, Lois Vossen