Festival starts in


A legend in his community and one of the last of his kind, eighty-six year old Wilven Hayes has spent a lifetime sustained by the resources of the Atchafalaya Basin. This unique natural world, as Wilven says, “is in his blood.” At sunrise, nearly every day of the year, Wilven sets out on his 20 foot aluminum bateau. He makes his way down the Atchafalaya River, lined with lush green cypress trees, to set and unload his traps. His ritual is a way of life. But the basin is a shadow of what it once was. Man-made influences have forever altered the landscape and the stock of bass, carp, catfish, and bigmouth buffalo. Locks and dams cut off the boundless access it once provided, transforming the ecosystem. In the midst of this transformation Wilven recalls the past, with one eye focused firmly on the present. Using in depth cinéma vérité style shooting and observational imagery the natural beauty of the basin reveals itself, along with Wilven’s love for this wilderness. On shore, Hayes Fisheries, Wilven’s family run market, is a relic of the past, filled with memories. Still serving the local community after decades, there’s no need for marketing or a website. The market is central to maintaining the family business, preserving the Cajun culture and a way of life that is struggling to survive. OF THE BASIN is an intimate portrait of a unique environment, and a means to celebrate and honor Wilven Hayes, one of the last fishermen of the Basin.

Director Biography

Keely Kernan is an award-winning freelance photographer and filmmaker who grew up in the Appalachian mountains of southern Pennsylvania. She has traveled extensively both nationally and internationally to produce work for a variety of media outlets and non-­profits. Her work focuses on topics such as the environment, the natural resources that we use daily, globalization, identity, and community. Her work also explores the construction of identity and how our external landscapes shape and transform us.
Keely Kernan
25 Minutes
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