When I finished Diaries in 1980, I thought my life in film was over. I had completed the work I wanted to do and saw no encore. Then, some 20 years later, a chance meeting as a judge at a film festival led to a collaboration with Lucia Small. For three years, Lucia and I discussed film ideas and decided we wanted to make a film about the temperature of America during the Bush era. Then, Hurricane Katrina hit and our film found a focus in the diaspora of the hurricane. The Axe in the Attic was the distillation of a 60-day road trip to document what happened to a country displaced, and the role of the filmmakers who bare witness.