MIAMI (July 31, 2006) — Spike Lee’s movie about Hurricane Katrina might just get an audience from the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but the celebrity director shouldn’t necessarily expect President Bush to watch it.
FEMA director R. David Paulison said Monday that if he’s not too busy grappling with hurricane season, he probably would catch Lee’s film, “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts,” scheduled to air on HBO Aug. 21-22.
Lee has had harsh words for Paulison’s agency, saying recently that Americans should be scared because of FEMA’s response to Katrina. “Pray to God you don’t have to depend on FEMA,” the director said at the Television Critics Association’s summer meeting.
But Paulison, who took over FEMA after former director Michael Brown quit under fire two weeks after Katrina hit, said he wants to see any report that might help him understand what went wrong.
“I’m taking this very seriously, and I’m not taking it personally,” Paulison told reporters. “I want to make this country proud of FEMA again. I think we could do that.”
Paulison was in Miami with Bush, who stopped by the National Hurricane Center for a briefing on preparedness for the current season. Bush spokesman Tony Snow said Bush is having regular meetings to make sure the government is ready if another disaster strikes. “Whether that includes movie viewing, I don’t know,” Snow said.