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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 August 2006, 08:24 GMT 09:24 UK
Lee slams Katrina rescue effort
Spike Lee
Spike Lee attended the premiere in New Orleans on Wednesday
Film director Spike Lee has criticised the Hurricane Katrina rescue effort ahead of the premiere of his documentary about the disaster.

"The devastation here was not brought on solely by Mother Nature. People in charge were not doing their job," he said at a New Orleans press conference.

"People are still in dire straits, we want to put the focus back here."

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts will air in two two-hour segments on US TV next week.

Cathartic experience

The premiere took place on Wednesday at the New Orleans Coliseum.

One evacuee who was back in New Orleans to try to find a new home said she felt "spiritually drawn" to attend.

"I wanted to come to this so bad. I needed to come," Mildred White, 59, told the Associated Press news agency.

"I feel like I haven't had a good cleansing. I feel like this will be cleansing for me, like going to a funeral."

Lee has been criticised by some who saw previews of his film for not including more representation from Mississippi Gulf Coast residents and New Orleans's white population.

Lee said there was diversity in the film "but because of the historical significance, we chose to focus here. That was my vision. I wanted to concentrate on New Orleans".

The film will be shown in its entirety on HBO on 29 August, the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

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