More than four years after the breakup of Papa Grows Funk, a documentary about the New Orleans band led by former Baton Rougean John Gros, is screening at the Southern Screen Film Festival in Lafayette.
Josh Freund and Sam Radutzky wrote, directed, produced, filmed and edited their five-year labor of love, “Do U Want It?” A screening of the documentary starts at 2:40 p.m. Saturday at the Acadiana Center for the Arts.
For 12 years, Papa Grows Funk played every Monday at the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans. After Freund and Radutzky moved to New Orleans in summer 2012, the band’s Maple Leaf gigs became their weekly ritual.
Fresh from Northwestern University, Freund, a journalism graduate, and Radutzky, a film studies major, came to New Orleans with the idea of forming Abis Productions, a company that would make music videos for local musicians.
“The second we got down here, we went to the Papa Grows Funk show at the Maple Leaf,” Radutzky said. “It was a really special thing for us. We loved it.”
But Freund and Radutzky would enjoy only the final year of Papa Grows Funk’s residency.
“When they announced they were breaking up, it was sad for us and everyone connected to the band,” Radutzky said.
“A lot of people had a relationship with the band from the beginning,” Freund added. “But even at the end, newcomers, younger people who’d just moved to New Orleans, outsiders, we felt embraced by the community. We felt that sense of home that people felt Monday night at the Leaf.”
Radutzky and Freund approached band leader Gros with an idea of filming a short tribute to the soon-to-disband quartet. They planned to produce a 10- to 20-minute homage from their fan perspective.
Once interviews for the project began, the plan went out the window, Radutzky said. The filmmakers also realized that Papa Grows Funk represents New Orleans musicians in a fundamental way.
“Papa Grows Funk’s story is the story of countless New Orleans bands over the past 50 years,” Radutzky said. “The story speaks just as much, if not more, to the musical culture of New Orleans than it does to Papa Grows Funk’s specific experience. Their story is a microcosm of the greater scene in New Orleans.”
“Do U Want It?"
Screening as part of Southern Screen Film Festival
WHEN: 2:40 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Acadiana Center for the Arts, 101 W. Vermilion St., Lafayette.
COST: Day passes $10; all-access passes $50
What else is there to see at Southern Screen Film Festival?
For the past seven years, the Southern Screen Film Festival has highlighted new and original voices in film. This year, the event has stretched in length and programming, featuring screenings, musical performances, workshops and parties. In a word, the event is packed.
Here are some parts of the festival you shouldn't miss For a full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit southernscreen.org. All events below at Acadiana Center for the Arts unless otherwise noted:
- "Death by Design" live table reading with Kody Chamberlain at 3 p.m. Friday.
- "Fat Tuesday" screening at 8:15 p.m. Friday at The Hive Theatre, 810 Jefferson St. The new horror film stars Hannah Gross ("Mindhunter"). Rated R.
- TV writers panel with John Viener ("Modern Family," "Family Guy") and Chadd Gindin ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") at 2 p.m. Saturday.
- "Permanent" screening at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The new comedy stars Rainn Wilson ("The Office") and Patricia Arquette ("Boyhood"). Screening features an intro with Eamonn Bowles, president of Magnolia Pictures; rated PG-13.
- Acting/improv 101 workshop with Alison Becker ("Upright Citizen's Brigade," "Parks and Recreation") at noon Sunday.
- Closing concert at 6 p.m. Sunday, featuring performances from Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Molly Burch, Grand Nathaniel & The Ghosts, and Julie Odell.
— Matthew Sigur contributed to this report.