The Pontchartrain Film Festival partners with Friends of the Dew Drop to present the first music film screening of the documentary, American Creole: New Orleans Reunion.
World-touring, local musician Don Vappie, bandleader of the Creole Jazz Serenaders, is the subject of the film by the award-winning team of Glen Pitre and Michelle Benoit. It will screen at 7 p.m., Friday Oct. 27 at the Dew Drop Jazz and Social Hall, 430 Lamarque St. in Mandeville.
The Pontchartrain Film Festival Tour has partnered with the Friends of the Dew Drop and the City of Mandeville to screen the documentary as the first music film at the historic Dew Drop. Vappie will be in attendance for a question and answer session. Admission is $10.
The film follows Vappie in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when he finds his family’s homes flooded and band members scattered. As Vappie tries to keep his band together and bring musicians back to the city, he decides to host a Rent Party and a musical family reunion. It is an occasion that is reminiscent of the social benevolence that for decades was accomplished at legendary Jazz and Social Halls like the Dew Drop.
Vappie said he gathered the cream of the local jazz scene and his scattered musician-relatives, because, “When the music comes back, everybody’s gonna come back.” Through his journey, Vappie begins to question what makes a community, and whether the culture he grew up in can survive the storm.
Glen Pitre was honored as a Louisiana Filmmaker at the inaugural Pontchartrain Film Festival in 2011, on the anniversary of the debut of his independent film “Belizaire the Cajun.” Film critic Roger Ebert acclaimed Pitre “a legendary American regional director.”
The PFF Film Tour brings documentary films into settings where there can be discussion of the films and the filmmaking process. The tour leads up to the Sixth Annual Pontchartrain Film Festival to be held Friday Nov. 3 and Saturday Nov. 4, 2017 at the Mandeville Trailhead Depot Museum.
******Owned by the City of Mandeville, the Dew Drop is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is managed by the non-profit Friends of the Dew Drop who all volunteer to bring music to the historic site and preserve and protect it. It also manages an outreach program called Dew Drop JazzKids wherein local jazz musicians conduct programs on jazz music for elementary school students in St. Tammany Parish. Street parking is available throughout the neighborhood. More information on the Dew Drop is available at www.dewdropjazzhall.com.