There is a feature length documentary film about the renowned New Orleans funk band Papa Grows Funk that has been accepted into the Oscar-qualifying 2017 New Orleans Film Festival, dubbed Do U Want It?. The film chronicles the rise of Papa Grows Funk, a legendary band that once included John Gros (Hammond B3 organ and lead vocals), June Yamagishi (Guitar, backing vocals), Marc Pero (Bass), Jason Mingledorff (Saxophones, backing vocals), Jeffery “Jellybean” Alexander (Drums, backing vocals, 2005-2013), and Russell Batiste (Drums, 2000-2005), known for their weekly shows at the iconic Maple Leaf Bar in Uptown New Orleans. Through never-before-seen interviews from musical royalty like George Porter Jr., to power brokers like Quint Davis, the film explores the band’s thirteen-year odyssey from formation to final show. Do U Want It? celebrates the musical culture of New Orleans while exploring the complex nature of success in the music industry. Do U Want It? will be screened at the Prytania Theater tonight, October 18, at 7:30PM CST. Tickets available here.
“This documentary, in all truthfulness, is the story of most of our lives as New Orleans musicians over the last fifty years. New Orleans Musicians, as well versed as we are in our craft, have a hard time breaking into the mainstream music scene. That causes frustrations which are honestly portrayed in this movie. This movie represents not just this band but our collective reality,” explains The Meters bassist George Porter Jr. in a press release.
Do U Want It? was produced and directed by Josh Freund and Sam Radutzky of ABIS Productions. “Sam Radutzky and I came to New Orleans at the tail end of Papa Grows Funk’s 12-year Monday-night residency at the Maple Leaf Bar,” explains Freund. “We soon were regulars and accepted into the local community that supported and loved the band. Personally, I’d go dancing at the Leaf on Monday and I’d feel good till Thursday. It was that good. Shortly after we arrived, in January of 2013, the band announced their intention to do a final tour before taking a hiatus. This news was devastating to us. We felt as if we were losing a dear friend and that the city was losing a vibrant and important part of its cultural legacy. And that was the impetus to start this project.”
Freund continues, “When we began, the project was intended to be a short doc. As we conducted these interviews, with the likes of George Porter, Jr., Quint Davis, and many other New Orleanians embedded in the local music scene, it became clear to us there was a bigger story to tell. We decided to shift gears and make a feature film not just about Papa Grows Funk, but about the city of New Orleans as well. We realized that Papa Grows Funk’s story was representative of so many New Orleans musicians that came before them and exist today. Their complicated relationship with New Orleans and with their pursuit of success was a story we felt would speak to many. We’re beyond thrilled for the film to screen as part of the New Orleans Film Festival.”
Do U Want It? follows Papa Grows Funk as they embark on their farewell tour. The film asks the question- what is “success?” Is it filling out large concert venues, selling records, and gaining widespread recognition? Or is it playing with your best friends and family every week, being part of a community, and going home, not rich, but with enough money in your pocket to do it all again tomorrow?
Watch the trailer for Do U Want It? below:
For more information about Do U Want It? please visit www.douwantitfilm.com.
Do U Want It? Screening
Screening Date: October 18, 2017
Screening Time: 7:30 p.m., CST
Screening Location: Prytania Theater: 5339 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70115, USA