Michael Murphy’s jazz-accented documentary Up from the Streets – New Orleans: The City of Music was supposed to be released the old-fashioned way this spring—in movie theaters across the United States. Instead, it “opened” online on May 15, taking an approach to streaming that’s still unusual but slowly gaining favor as the film industry continues to adapt in the time of coronavirus.
Viewers who want to stream the documentary from home will be asked to purchase a virtual ticket from their local cinema that had originally been scheduled to screen the film. Thus audiences will be able to support their area movie theaters while viewing the film at their own convenience. Once purchased, the ticket will be active for seven days, and once started, the viewer will have 72 hours to finish the film. More than 100 theaters from Maine to Washington are taking part.
A portion of the proceeds from the virtual tickets will go to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation’s Jazz & Heritage Music Relief Fund, an emergency initiative to aid Louisiana-based musicians who have been affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Written, directed, and co-produced by Murphy—whose previous credits include 2005’s Make It Funky!, another celebration of the Crescent City—Up from the Streets is an examination of the musical history of New Orleans, from the beginnings of jazz to the city’s homegrown R&B and funk sounds. Among the film’s talking heads are Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., and Dr. Michael White; performers featured include Louis Armstrong, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard is the documentary’s host.
Tickets for Up from the Streets will be available through June 15 on the Eventive website.