Year Released: 2009
Distributor: Film Movement
Running Time: 80 minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: PG
Related Films/Series: N/A
For Fans Of: Trouble the Water, An American Opera, Kamp Katrina, Lil Bub and Friends
-Mine is the directorial debut of Geralyn Pezanoski. Her other projects include producing Motherland, Firehouse: Real Stories from America’s Bravest, and On a Tuesday.
-Mine was actually featured on PBS’s Independent Lens program.
-The budget for this documentary is $450,000.
-Geralyn Pezanowski’s favorite movies are Arizona Dreams, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Orpheu Negro. (credit to PBS).
-Cesar “The Dog Whisperer” Milan makes a cameo and even meets with Jessie James “JJ” Pullins, who’s one of the case subjects.
One event that certainly got tons of attention when I was younger was Hurricane Katrina. I remember seeing live news clips of that destructive storm even when I was in school to the point where one day, we all stopped what we were doing to see what was happening in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Over a decade later, there is still water damage to this day and it’s saddening to know that people’s lives and property were destroyed. There was one aspect that didn’t get talked about that much and it involved the pets of those who survived Katrina.
It was up to Geralyn Pezanowski and company to document this lesser-known aspect of those who survived the hurricane.
Mine takes place in Louisiana not that long after Katrina made landfall. Several pets were separated from their owners, so various organizations have been trying their best to reunite these animals with the families who loved and cared for them. The ones who were rescued were in shelters and animal adoption agencies while the owners were being tracked (unfortunately, some of the owners and pets died during Katrina). Some of the pets would be sent to foster families states away and in one case, all the way to Canada. Many of the owners weren’t rich, so they didn’t have the easiest of means especially losing so many things during the storm. There are several stories told from the original owners, foster parents, and the rescue workers involved in this giant situation.
Here’s an aspect about Katrina that I seriously never thought about. From the jump, this documentary tugged on my heartstrings seeing all these dogs and cats being stranded even during the destruction that happened around them. It was like seeing those animal shelter infomercials, but with a lot more depth to them. Seriously, I dare anyone not to feel any modicum of sadness when those scenes play. It was just as heartbreaking seeing the locals in Louisiana talking about being homeless or how their pets were one of their few companions in this world. While the emotional aspect certainly shines here, many of the survivors also make legit points about their cases. Subjects such as classism and racism are brought up as certain people have been hurt or denied care in different ways in regards to their pets or not which was a nice touch. I liked how many of them do their best like raising money for lawyers, try to rebuild their lives, and doing everything they can to reunite with their pets.
Mine certainly was a touching documentary, but some aspects fall short. I wasn’t all that impressed with the camera work and production. Maybe they were trying to go for realism which I do appreciate, but there was too much aliasing and the slow-mo effects were really choppy in this film. There were some repeated pictures and footage which got a bit annoying at times. I also thought it was a bit slower-paced than I would’ve liked even if it does have a shorter run time than most full-length documentaries. Mine does stall a bit in the final third of the film before rushing the ending in my opinion. Jessie’s situation in trying to reunite with JJ was more tragic and the filmmakers should’ve put more pressure on the shelters and foster family. I won’t spoil it, but how his story ends will tick you off. Just warning you.
Mine was a nice surprise to watch with all the documentaries I’ve seen somewhat recently. It was a touching story seeing all these pets and their owners trying to be reconnected after being gone for years. Some of them are certainly heartwarming and the reality makes it that much sweeter for some of the owners. However, I do wish there was better visual production and stronger aspects in the presentation of the stories from these people and their pets. Mine is definitely a must-watch if you like real life stories about dogs and cats. It’s certainly a fine watch when it comes to documentaries dealing with the aftermath of Katrina.
Adjustable Point System:
Add 1-3 points if you like documentaries about pets.
Add 1 point if you like heartwarming stories.
Subtract 2-3 points if you want high-quality cinematography.
-Very heartwarming to watch with some of the owner’s stories
-Realistic drama that you can’t make up
-Not over-reliant on emotion
-Lackluster visual production
-Some stories don’t turn out well
-Some unneeded recap footage
Final Score: 7/10 points
Content Warning: Mine is a safe watch for most audiences. The stories can get depressing when it’s mentioned that some owners and pets have died in the storm. The imagery can be disturbing where there are dogs with missing limbs and scarred cats shown onscreen.
All photos used under US “Fair Use” laws. Mine is property of Geralyn Pezanowski and Film Movement. The DVD cover is from Film Movement and is property of Film Movement.