Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Director Ben Powell and producer Dave Schachter
If you missed the single screening of BARGE at DOC NYC you missed the chance to get transported down the Mississippi for 75 minutes on a ship towing barges to New Orleans and back. It was one of the cooler viewing experiences at the festival and one you all should hope to have.

BARGE is a portrait of a three day trip from the port of Rosedale Mississippi to New Orleans and back by a tow ship and it's crew. We watch the men go through their paces, listen to them talk about their lives and watch the countryside go by.

Shot on a single trip (after five previous planning trips) BARGE is a real slice of life. There is no narration, just life. We watch as things happen or don't. We watch as the ship is cleaned, meals are prepared and in a smile inducing sequence listen (or not) to the ships engineer as he shows us the engine room while the engine roars so loud we can't hear a thing.

The film is kind of like sailing down a lazy river and I was so relaxed by the film I started to drift off because I felt like I was on vacation.

After the film Dor Dotson ran the Q&A where director Ben Powell and produce Dave Schachter talked about the making of the film.They spoke about how the idea to do the film as an observational study came from interviews with bargemen done on land. It didn't work that well and decided to move it on to the river. They had tried to get passage with a larger company but found there were safety issues that prevented it so instead they went with the company owned by the friend of a friend. There was repeated mentions about how they couldn't film some people because either they were wanted by the police or because they had multiple wives (one in every port) and they couldn't be seen so the ladies couldn't track them down.

Heading out after the film I ran into the Kory Mello who is doing the PR for the film. We started talking about the release of the film in February. I mentioned how much I liked the film, but I added that the film was so much cooler on the big screen than I thought it would be on even a large screen TV. For me the film got four or five extra points simply because the look of the film is so breath taking. As I alluded to above seeing the film BIG you feel like you're on the boat and the river. While I know the film will be fine on TV, it's gonna blow your mind big.

The film has finished it's one DOC NYC performance and is due for release in February.

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