By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J.
Online fans of independent cinema and the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago are in for a treat this Saturday, May 16, at 6:00 p.m. (CST), as a FREE special live ZOOM question and answer period will be presented for the Jazz documentary film called “Up From The Streets.” This session will be hosted by trumpeter and multiple Grammy winner Terence Blanchard and director of the documentary Michael Murphy.
Leading up to the ZOOM session and for a few days afterward, “Up From The Streets” will be available for $12 for online viewing from May 15 through May 21. The documentary features reflections on New Orleans music by some of the city’s best-known music ambassadors, both past and present.
“Up From The Streets” is a feature length documentary that looks at the culture of New Orleans through the lens of music, particularly considering the recently cancelled annual Jazz Fest in New Orleans.
New Orleans has a distinct history as a result of its political and social history. There is a thread that runs through the city that can be heard from the drumming at Congo Square in the 1700’s through to today’s vibrant music scene.
The music of this city is a powerful form of expression. It was a vehicle to communicate a desire for freedom, express frustration of the injustices of segregation and Jim Crow laws, a healing force that helped bring the city back from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and is still a vital form of expression against ongoing cultural and racial biases.
Four-time Grammy winner Blanchard serves as executive producer, music director and host for the film. The film features personal reflections from New Orleans’ most impactful musicians including, but not limited to, Blanchard, Harry Connick, Jr., Wynton Marsalis, Mannie Fresh and Dr. Michael White, It also presents commentary by national and international musicians, along with archival and newly filmed performances by iconic artists such as Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint and The Neville Brothers.
Blanchard and Murphy show how the culture of the city is reflected in its music, how music impacts culture; and how even in the darkest of times, music lifts and unites.
The cost to view this film is $12, and for every ticket sold, $2 will be donated to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation COVID-19 relief fund, a statewide relief fund created to support Louisiana musicians and music industry workers whose livelihoods have been adversely impacted by this unprecedented crisis.
This film is available on demand beginning at midnight local time on May 15 and can be purchased and viewed at any time. To view the film, click here: https://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/upfromthestreets.
To watch the trailer for “Up From The Streets,” click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYnDVGCFKf8.
The Q&A is free of charge, but registration is required. Viewers will be able to ask questions via the live chat feature on the Eventive site: