by Kevin Allman
Gambit's sportswriter and sports photographer, Alejandro de los Rios and Jonathan Bachman, do more than go to Saints and Hornets games and drink lots of beer: they've spent the last year and a half working on a documentary about New Orleans' brass band scene.
In the past 18 months, we've compiled hundreds of hours of footage from interviews, live performances and second lines in order to gain a deeper understanding of New Orleans' signature music genre.
Already, we've spoken with: members of the Dirty Dozen, Rebirth, Treme, Soul Rebels, Hot 8, Free Agents, To Be Continued, and Stooges brass bands. We've also interviewed musicians Leroy Jones and Glen David Andrews; rappers Mannie Fresh, Jay Electronica and Dee-1; artist Frenchy; writers Lolis Eric Elie and Tom Piazza; and Tulane professors Bruce Raeburn and Matt Sakakeeny.
Our goal is to finish our film by September 2011 so that we can submit it to film festivals and hopefully premiere in early 2012.
The in-progress trailer looks amazing (and they have other interviews and performance videos you can watch on their Vimeo page). So far they've been doing this out of their own pockets, but now they've gone on Kickstarter* to get community support — and, in less than a week, have raised more than half of what they need to finish the movie. Their deadline is May 5, so if you want to find out more or help out a bit, check out their Kickstarter.
Ultimately they'd like to make the thousands of hours of footage they've captured a gift to the city:
We've conducted so many interviews and filmed so many parades, second lines and concerts, that there is no way we'll be able to fit it all into one film. Our goal is to donate copies of all the footage we've collected to the various educational resources in New Orleans so that future students, historians and music lovers will be able to use it as a reference in their work or other pursuit.
Ultimately we wish to provide a way to preserve the culture and music we hold dear and honor the musicians we've worked with, all of whom have shown us tremendous generosity of spirit and goodwill.
*(Read Gambit's recent story on Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites here.)