The American Can

: Narrative Feature
GENRE: Drama
STATUS: Pre-Production


Based on a true story in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a disillusioned Marine veteran John Keller must confront his inner demons and a racial standoff, to save people trapped in his building.


Based on an epic true story, Marine John Keller barely gets by with his dog and tortured memories of Iraq when Hurricane Katrina strikes New Orleans. Gruff and despondent, he wants to be left alone. But then the levees breach and the city is underwater. Outsiders, low income, Black citizens, arrive seeking refuge in his mostly White residential complex, the American Can Apartments (“The Can”). With each day and no rescue in sight, the growing pressure of racial tension and injustices seeps from the city into The Can. There is a different war - a protest out of control - and the clock is ticking.



The creative vision of the film is to disrupt the biased singular lens of Hurricane Katrina depicted by the media, into an authentic and immersive experience. Using a lens filtered through trauma and the environment, the journey of a three-dimensional reluctant hero (Keller), is witnessed from multiple perspectives: The Lens of the Can (Claustrophobic) The Lens of the City (Surreal) The Lens of the Media (Voyeuristic). The overall look is a nostalgic 16mm feel combining the colorful vibrancy of New Orleans before the storm, and the washout retro aesthetic of the apocalypse when it floods.


Adetoro Makinde - Writer | Director | Producer

Adetoro Makinde is a first-generation Nigerian-American, graduating from Georgetown University and Duke Ellington School of the Arts. An award-winning filmmaker with 20 years in the industry, she launched the production company Backdoor Films producing nearly a dozen independent films. Most notable projects include WHOA, In Time, A Good Day to Be Black and Sexy and Sadla, which all premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Adetoro served as Line Producer on the NETFLIX and Leonardo DiCaprio produced documentary, Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski, Impact Producer for South Africa on the critically acclaimed HBO feature The Tale, and Impact Strategist for Southern Africa for the Participant Media and NETFLIX produced feature, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind. Current projects in development include the Hurricane Katrina biopic, The American Can, a food justice documentary, Rooted and a Nigerian industrialization documentary Untitled Igbesa Project

Among her honors, she is a Blackhouse Multicultural Producer’s Fellow, Made in NY Fellows, Film Independent | Project Involve Fellow, and grant recipient of the Ford Foundation, and HBO Corporate and Social Responsibility.

Adetoro is a member of WGA, SAG-AFTRA, AEA, as well as the former Chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Film Fatales, and the current President and Co-Founder of Women Independent Producers.

Lance Corporal John S. Keller, Jr. - Hero

A native son of New Orleans, John Keller was born into a middle-class family and graduated from the elite boarding school, St. Stanislaus College Preparatory in Mississippi. An active student, he earned his pilot license for a Cessna 172, was a member of the ski and yacht team, captain of the basketball team and the first black student voted as senior class President. 

Forgoing college, John joined the military and served for four years. Lance Corporal Keller was a member of the 1st Reconnaissance Marine, 1st Recon Battalion Special Forces Team during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm. He was honorably discharged from the Armed Forces after exposure to toxic agents on the battlefield. He returned to the Crescent City a decorated veteran and was given a Key to the City. 

While suffering from PTSD after the physically and emotionally taxing affects of Iraq, John heroically rescued hundreds of people trapped atop his apartment complex in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Per Melita - Co-Producer

Per is an award-winning producer who has produced and co-produced over 15 feature films. Most notably the 2002 Tribeca Film Festival Best Narrative Feature Award winner and 2003 triple Independent Spirit Award nominee Roger Dodger; the 2007 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner and 2009 double Independent Spirit Award nominee Padre Nuestroaka Sangre de mi Sangre; the 2010 DauvilleAmerican Film Festival Revelation Prize and 2010 Breakthrough Director Gotham Award winner Holy Rollers; the critically acclaimed Experimenter, The Stanley Milgram Story; and the respective 2017 and 2020 Sundance Film Festival Alfred P. Sloan Award for Science winners Marjorie Primeand Tesla.

Per has also line produced and production managed over 35 feature films. In these capacities he has collaborated with such industry veterans as James Shamus (Focus Features); Ted Hope (Amazon); and renowned producers Chris Moore (Goodwill Hunting, Manchester By The Sea); Paul Mezey(Beasts of the Southern Wild); Aaron L. Gilbert (Fences, The Birth of A Nation); Ross Katz (Lost in Translation); and Suzanne Farwell and Susan Cartsonis(The Intern, It’s Complicated).

Per was born in Rome, speaks six languages, and lived extensively in Italy and in the Netherlands before relocating to New York. A former banker, he is a graduate of Fordham University’s MBA program in New York. He is a member of the PGA, the DGA, IFP, and the Independent Producers Alliance.

Sharon Lomofsky - Production Designer

South African born Sharon Lomofskygained international recognition for her production design of Before the Rain. (Winner “Golden Lion”, Venice 1994, Oscar Nomination, Best Foreign Film, 1995) She designed critically acclaimed Manny and Lo, Claire Dolan, Pinero, A Love Song For Bobby Long, The King, (Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2005), Stephanie Daley, (Winner, Waldo Salt Award, Sundance 2006), El Cantante, andI Think I Love my Wife.

Bring it On topped the box office in the U.S. and James Marsh’s, Man on Wire was the Oscar Winner 2009 and won Bafta Best British Film 2009. She worked on Vera Farmiga’s critically acclaimed directorial debut, Higher Ground, (Sundance special competition 2011), Robot and Frank (Sundance 2012), and the musical Love Beats Rhymes.

More recently she has worked on Blumhouse/Universal’s horror franchise, The First Purge and The Purge: Election Year and has been working on Television shows; The Detour(TBS), Difficult People (Hulu) and Lincoln Rhymes: Hunt for the Bone Collector (NBC).

Simon Hansen - Visual Effects Producer

South African born Hansen has been working in the film and entertainment industry since 1992.  One of his early achievements was to produce "Alive in Joburg", the precursor to international hit District 9.

As a filmmaker and visual effects artist, Hansen has helped to build a South African film industry that can compete in the international arena. His holistic approach to aspects of the industry have earned Hansen the reputation of being a collaborative visionary with ground-breaking technical nous, pioneering new innovations and creative techniques, in an ever-changing landscape of virtual and independent filmmaking. He is also known for mentoring first-time

His credits include: District 9 (TriStar), Chronicle (FOX) Eye In The Sky(Bleeker Street), The Fantastic Four (FOX), Capone (BRON), The Agent (Netflix), Bring It On: Worldwide (Universal), The Girl (HBO), Pumzi (Focus) and the upcoming SAS Red Notice (Lionsgate).

His work on the History Channel’s Roots was shortlisted for an Emmy Award and nominated for a Visual Effects Society Award

Frederick Mpuuga - Storyboard & Concept Artist

?Originally from Uganda, Fred is a Cape Town based concept/storyboard artist, and graduate of Makerere University with a degree in Industrial & Fine Arts. He previously worked as the Visual Effects Art Director on the Starz series, Black Sails  (Emmy Winner for Outstanding Visual Effects).

Other work can be seen on several blockbusters films including the Denzel Washington action-thriller Safehouse, the Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore romantic comedy Blended, the action-adventure Maze Runner: The Death Cure, and the Sherlock Holmes spin-off Enola Holmes.

Most recently, he served as both concept artist and storyboard artist on The Mauritanian, starring Shailene Woodley, Tahar Rahim, Jodie Foster, Benedict Cumberbatch, currently in postproduction.


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