Friday, March 30, 2012


The film Tchoupitoulas premiered at SXSW in Austin, Texas earlier this month. The documentary, from the Ross Brothers, depicts a night in New Orleans' French Quarter seen through the eyes of three young brothers.

This video is from the documentary's Kickstarter campaign and oddly does not have a lot of information on the film itself. Rather, the directors and producers focus on why they need money: to pay music royalties. The subjects of Tchoupitoulas only appear in the first 50 seconds of the video. The following four minutes consist of the directors trying to charm you out of your money. As far as marketing campaigns go, it's not a completely ineffective one; they have just under $9000 dollars to fundraise before they meet their goal.

I was drawn to this movie mostly because of its title. The Wild Tchoupitoulas is the name of one of the Mardi Gras Indian tribes and I initially thought that would be the focus of the documentary. Imagine my surprise, then, when I find out that it's about three boys wandering around the (forbidden) French Quarter. There was an odd relationship between my expectation and reality. The Mardi Gras Indians seem to be a rejection of the French Quarter's rendition of Mardi Gras. Then, to take a name closely tied to the Indians and apply it to a film about the French Quarter is somewhat jarring.

I was hoping that the video would address some of my questions, but it was pretty thoroughly unhelpful in that department. Instead, it rehashed the idea of music being integral to New Orleans culture. While I certainly don't disagree with this stance, I wish there was a more unique message to this film.

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