Roots of Fire

  • Director

    Abby Berendt Lavoi, Jeremey Lavoi

  • Country, Year, Length

    United States, 2022, 1 hour 23 minutes 41 seconds

  • Category

    Documentary Feature

  • Format


  • Festival Year


Film Screening & Ticket Information

When & Where to See this Film!




Amidst shuttered rural dance clubs and encroaching globalization, five award-winning musicians push against stereotypes of the American South and move the music of their ancestors forward. But their fans are getting older and the language is fading away. Will their efforts be enough to save a dying community?


Abby Berendt Lavoi, Director
Jeremey Lavoi, Director
Abby Berendt Lavoi, Writer
Jeremey Lavoi, Writer
Abby Berendt Lavoi, Producer
Jeremey Lavoi, Producer
Wilson Savoy, Key Cast
Joel Savoy, Key Cast
Kelli Jones, Key Cast
Kristi Guillory, Key Cast
Jourdan Thibodeaux, Key Cast
Jeremey Lavoi, Director of Photography
Abby Berendt Lavoi, Editor
Jeremey Lavoi, Editor
Stephen Thorpe, Sound Designer
Pine Leaf Boys, Composer
Feufollet, Composer
Jourdan Thibodeaux et Les Rôdailleurs, Composer
Bonsoir Catin, Composer
T’Monde, Composer
Anna Laura Edmiston, Composer
Kelli Jones, Composer
Kristi Guillory, Composer
Wilson Savoy, Composer
Jourdan Thibodeaux, Composer
Joel Savoy, Composer
Roddie Romero, Composer
Felipe Grosso, Animation
Cabong Studios, Animation

Director Statement

Director, Jeremey Lavoi: When I left Louisiana for the Bay Area in 2002, there wasn’t a thought in my head about preserving my culture. Yet, like a lot of other cajuns in the diaspora, I yearned for the smells, tastes, and rhythms of my homeland. For some of us, it takes leaving Louisiana to know what we left behind. It took me over a decade to find myself living in Louisiana again, this time in New Orleans. Now I’m not an angsty teen looking to leave the South. I’m a father raising a little Nola girl less than half a mile from where her great-grandpa grew up. I want her stomping through the swamps, pulling up crawfish traps with her grandpa like I did with mine. I want her to know about her French Louisiana heritage and why it’s still important. I didn’t grow up loving cajun music, but my grandparents did, and now so do I. I want to reclaim that heritage using the best tool I have at my disposal, storytelling. My goal is to teach others why they should love Louisiana like I do. Roots of Fire is about a flaming resurgence of music and culture that has been burning all along… just beneath the surface.

Director, Abby Berendt Lavoi: Thirteen years ago I married a Southern Louisianian. I’ve consumed this state and immersed myself in the culture ever since. Prior to this time, my knowledge of this culture was shaped, sadly, by typical stereotypes. For the past decade I’ve learned that these people are consistently maligned in the media, portrayed as backwoods “swamp people” on reality shows, or typecast as “typical southern racists.” Suffice to say, on this journey I’ve met some of the most progressive and fascinating people; from a hip hop accordion-playing university teacher to a Zydeco fitness dance instructor, if you think this is an outdated culture… you’re wrong.
What drew me to this project was young people dancing to the music, carefree, and alive. It was pure and authentic. I didn’t know anything like this still existed in America. Maybe after living in big cities for over a decade I was jaded, but these kids were not dancing ironically. They were legitimately enjoying themselves, two-stepping to accordion, rubboard, and fiddle music. These kids were keeping a culture alive whether they realized it or not. To me, that’s the beauty and strength of it. When young people take it up on their own, live it, and love it, it truly is a living culture. What I hope to do with Roots of Fire is share that feeling, that community, and that love with audiences around the world.

Director Biography

Abby Berendt Lavoi is an award-winning Director, Producer, Writer, mother, cancer- survivor, and joyful ball of sarcasm. She has received honors and awards from the New York Television Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, OXIFF, SIFF, Telly Awards, PromaxBDA, SFIndieFest, and many others. Her television credits include MTV/MTV2/MTVu, TV Land, Nick@Nite, and Current TV. Since 2008, she has successfully run Lavoi Creative, creating content for Pandora, Google, Netflix, Autodesk, and many more.

Jeremey Lavoi is a Director and DP with more than a decade of experience working in television, documentary film, and the digital space. He is an experienced Writer and Producer. He believes in the power of storytelling to illuminate, educate, and entertain. Since 2008, he has successfully run Lavoi Creative, creating content for several tech giants. His television credits include BRAVO, History Channel, Science Channel, Discovery Health, CNBC, Current TV, MTVu, MTV2, and TechTV (G4).