the whole gritty city

David Bianculli directs your attention to a CBS documentary airing this Saturday called The Whole Gritty City, and it follows young student marching bands as they prepare for coveted spots in the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans:

48 Hours Presents: The Whole Gritty City is a documentary in the Fred Wiseman mold. The film, by Richard Barber and Andre Lambertson, has no narration — it just focuses on a specific subject for a lengthy amount of time, and lets the cameras record whatever happens. And then, all that raw footage is edited. The only scene-setting comes courtesy of Wynton Marsalis, who appears at the beginning, and a few more spots during the program, to explain the concept, the context — and the stakes.

“New Orleans buries too many of its young,” says Marsalis, who was born and raised in New Orleans.

The opening scene of The Whole Gritty City turns out to be a flash-forward. We see, and hear, a very large group of young people playing band instruments outdoors, as part of a funeral service. They’re playing, sometimes, with more volume and emotion than precision, a few of them wiping tears away as they blow their horns.

photo courtesy of CBS 48 Hours Presents: The Whole Gritty City 

“The Whole Gritty City” is a documentary feature film now nearing completion. It tells the story of three New Orleans marching bands, whose directors prepare kids for Mardi Gras parades, and battle for their lives and souls. 

To complete the film this fall and release it early in 2013 the filmmakers need to raise finishing funds. So they’ve just launched a new Kickstarter campaign running from September 10th to October 10th. 

If you have a moment, please check out the trailer for the film and consider donating to their Kickstarter campaign. Even if you’re not able to donate, just sharing information about the project and the Kickstarter campaign would also be a great help! 

A nearly-completed version of The Whole Gritty City recently got a strong positive reaction from “The Wire” and “Treme” creator David Simon. Here’s some of it:

“Gritty City is glorious. Alternately heartbreaking and joyous, one instant to the next.”

Kickstarter is here

I can’t wait for this movie to come out. It looks so good and of course sad. The music should be ON POINT. 

The trailer alone reminds me of my childhood in New Orleans. Not because I grew up playing in a marching band, but I was one of millions watching these school bands perform during carnival. The music of the city. 

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Friends… I have blogged, Facebooked, Tweeted, you name it, about this film more than anything else I’ve ever talked about. Please consider donating to their Kickstarter campaign so that we can finally see this on the big screen!