“Up From the Streets,” a history and celebration of the music of New Orleans hosted by Grammy-winning artist Terence Blanchard, will have a “virtual cinema release” starting May 15 with proceeds from ticket sales benefiting struggling Louisiana musicians.
The film, subtitled “New Orleans: The City of Music,” debuted in October at the New Orleans Film Festival, where it was nominated as best feature Louisiana documentary. It was also nominated as best feature documentary at the Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival and at the DC Independent Film Festival, received an Award of Excellence at the IndieFest Film Festival, and was Gold Award winner for best feature documentary at the Houston WorldFest Film Festival.
Viewers can purchase tickets from participating local cinemas and watch the film at home, “supporting their favorite independent movie theaters as they practice social distancing and self-quarantine,” said a spokesman for London-based distributor Eagle Rock Entertainment.
A portion of the proceeds from each $12 ticket will be donated to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation’s Jazz & Heritage Music Relief Fund, a statewide relief initiative supporting Louisiana musicians who have lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 50 U.S. theaters are participating. The order will be good for seven days, and viewers will have 72 hours to finish the film once they have started watching. Virtual cinema tickets, and a list of participating theaters, are available at https://watch.eventive.org/upfromthestreets.
“Up From the Streets” looks at the history and culture of the Big Easy through the lens of music from pre-colonial days to modern times. Writer-director Michael Murphy looks at the diverse, multicultural fabric of the city and how community and cultural traditions are reflected in the sounds that eventually influenced all of 20th century American popular music.
Blanchard serves as on-camera host and sometime narrator, although there are also more than 40 interviews including such musical luminaries as Harry Connick Jr., Wynton and Bradford Marsalis, Aaron Neville, Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Sting, Allen Toussaint and Bonnie Raitt.
Threaded throughout the film are many musical performances ranging from archival footage of Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Sweet Emma Barrett and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to more contemporary performers including the Neville Brothers, Dr. John, Galactic, Mannie Fresh and Big Freedia, Professor Longhair with the Meters, and Blanchard with his E Collective band.