A New Doc Shines a Loving Light on the New Orleans Jazz Funeral
By Malcolm Jones, Editor of the Daily Beast
The words "funeral" and "joyous" rarely come coupled in the same sentence. Yes, funerals are often used to celebrate a life, but the celebration is usually muted, even solemn. But not in New Orleans. In the Crescent City, they turn mourning into music, with brass bands playing dirges that serenade the hearses to the graveyard. And on the way back, those dirges transform into joyful, upbeat melodies that turn funeral processions into parades, the ultimate triumph of life over death.
In City of a Million Dreams, Jason Berry’s moving documentary tribute to New Orleans’ tradition of jazz funerals, local columnist and blogger Deborah "Big Red" Cotton marks the uniqueness of these events when she says, "New Orleans people have a compulsive drive to do everything the opposite of everywhere else. Maybe dancing when someone dies is the most brilliant thing you can do...”
Money, hurricane, death: Jason Berry's 'City of a Million Dreams' mulls history of second-lines, jazz funerals
By Sue Strachan
It was the last day of filming “City of a Million Dreams: The Untold Story of Funerals in New Orleans,” and as the cast and crew milled about in the early morning sun, Jason Berry stood watching with a mixture of pride and wistfulness.
It had been a 20-year journey, an odyssey of death, money and destruction.
“This has been an epic of my life,” said Berry, of the documentary and book...
A Father, a Daughter, and a Film
By Kim Singletary
In honor of Father’s Day this month, I thought I’d share the story of a father and daughter I’m honored to know and the unique project that, for the first time in either of their careers, has turned them into professional colleagues.
Both are storytellers: The dad is Jason Berry, an author, journalist and filmmaker widely known for his coverage of the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic church. His daughter, Simonette Berry, is an accomplished scenic artist and writer who has worked in the film industry for six years...
New Documentary About New Orleans Jazz Funerals Is Seeking Funding
MAY 22, 2018, by MATTHEW PHILIPS
The documentary observes jazz funerals as a “caravan of memory,” where observers and participants can view the city’s history through a musical lens. The crew follows Original Liberty Jazz Band leader Dr. Michael White and his search into the past of his musical ancestors, who helped shape jazz and African-American funeral traditions into a new art form.
Triumph, destruction and rebirth remain major themes in the film...