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Tradition is a Temple: a motion picture of New Orleans music's video poster

A non-fiction film that highlights New Orleans' unique musical culture and the fragility of tradition in the modern world. Read more

New Orleans, LA Shorts
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pledged of $30,650 goal
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This project was successfully funded on February 3, 2011.

A non-fiction film that highlights New Orleans' unique musical culture and the fragility of tradition in the modern world.

New Orleans, LA Shorts
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About this project

For indepth information including blogs and addtional video clips from the movie, please visit

TRADITION IS A TEMPLE explores New Orleans’ unique musical culture and the fragility of tradition in the modern world. The movie weaves together in-depth personal interviews shot over a four year span with once in a lifetime studio performances by New Orleans greats, including:

Shannon Powell - Voice, Drums & Percussion
Jason Marsalis - Vibraphone, Drums & Percussion
Lucien Barbarin - Voice, Trombone, Tuba & Drums
Topsy Chapman & Solid Harmony - Voice
Roland Guerin - Bass & Percussion
Steve Masakowski - Guitars
Ed Petersen - Saxophones
Chuck Perkins - Poetry & Spoken Word
The Baby Boyz Brass Band
The Tremé Brass Band featuring Eric Calhoun

We need help to fund the very last phases of post-production of the movie and prove that a balanced or "fair-trade" partnership with musicians can be a sustainable business model.

What We Believe
The filmmakers, musicians, investors, and fans of Tradition is a Temple believe that music is a cornerstone of the tradition, culture, community and economy of New Orleans. This music sustains New Orleans through hard times, energizes its local celebrations, is central to the region’s tourism industry, and influences music around the world.

We believe that our world is more beautiful, rich and true thanks to New Orleans Jazz. We also believe musicians should be fairly compensated for sharing their gift.

What else do we believe in?
A lean production and distribution team, transparency, balance, equity and a tradition of integrity.

Here’s the Problem
New Orleans musicians are tragically underpaid for their art. Gig fees and tips are paltry compared with those collected by musicians in other metropolitan cities. Additionally, even though the city’s top musicians are local icons and well-loved by jazz aficionados across the world, most are barely visible across the United States.

New Orleans musicians are often solicited to participate in films, television series, and major music recordings. But rarely are they brought in as partners with the potential to share in the economic success of the recording. They are treated as work-for-hire and paid a set fee for their services. And when royalties are offered the musicians, they simply don't amount to much. Too often, productions will incur so many expenses that they effectively wipe out any potential for real long term financial benefit for the musicians.

Our Solution
We created a documentary about New Orleans jazz musicians like “The King of Tremé” - Shannon Powell, Jason Marsalis, Topsy Chapman, Lucien Barbarin, and the Tremé Brass Band. Many of these musicians learned to play music while growing up in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Now they’re working to ensure that their tradition survives. They’re passing their music to the next generation - just like the Masters before them.

In addition to being paid a fee for their time, all of the featured musicians own a percentage of the film.

We managed to keep production costs low while creating a first-class cinematic experience. This means that more revenue will flow back to the musicians once the distribution of the movie is complete. We couldn’t have done this without the help of the The University of New Orleans, College of Liberal Arts, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the Allan Houston Foundation, the Hogan Jazz Archives at Tulane University and the Idea Village. Who dat!

The Cinema in Concert
Soon we’ll be taking this movie on the road, with what we believe to be a fresh approach.

We will expand on traditional theatrical release and present Cinema in Concert. A screening of Tradition is a Temple followed by an always amazing musical performance by the Shannon Powell Trio. We’re planning stops at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, major national and international Film and Jazz Festivals and television.

Here’s How You Can Help
The movie is in the last stages of Post-Production. (This means we’ve wrapped our five years of research, filming, recording, and the bulk of the editing.)

Now we need to raise $30,650 dollars to pay for the finishing touches: sound editing, graphics, buying music master rights, and merchandising.

Here are the hard costs we are looking at:
Additional Hard Drives and Shipping: $700
Trailer Editing and Color Correction: $850
Sound Design: $4,000
Sound Mix: $2,000
Graphics: $4,000
Travel for archival research: $500
Archival Photo Reproduction: $1,600
Video: Rights and Licenses: $3,000
Music Synchronization Rights: $3,000
Music Master Use Rights: $2,000
3 copies of each: Digibeta, HDV, HD Cam Tapes: $2,000
Narration Voice Over: $2000
DVD, Soundtrack, and Merchandise Production: $5,000

Total $30,650

If you pre-order your copy DVD of the movie now…or buy a t-shirt, soundtrack album, or one of our other sweet gift packages…you can help us cover our costs without diluting the musicians’ ownership rights. Just a few clicks and you’re supporting the swinging music of New Orleans.

PS How Kickstarter Works:

Your credit card is only charged, if and when, we reach our goal of $30,650. Funding on Kickstarter is "all or nothing" and if we do not reach our fundraising goal by the the end of January, you don't get charged a dime.

At the end of the fundraising campaign, backers will be contacted by the project's producers to obtain any additional information that may be needed (ie. shipping address, etc.).

Thank you for considering.


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $12 or more

    21 backers

    Soundtrack Digital Download. Everyone who supports us with $12 or more will receive a soundtrack from the movie featuring songs from New Orleans' favorite musicians. This music was recorded in New Orleans by Grammy winning sound engineer, Steve Reynolds. We're confident that these are the hottest jams you'll hear all year...

  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    117 backers

    Digital Soundtrack Download PLUS...
    the full length movie on DVD: Tradition is a Temple - The Modern Masters of New Orleans vol. One. The movie will be shipped to you before it's available to anyone else. You get to be the cool kid on the block who discovered the new movie that everyone's gotta see.

  • You selected
    Pledge $45 or more

    28 backers

    Everything above PLUS...
    The full-length soundtrack on CD with beautiful album art and photography. The album features images captured by our award-winning motion picture photography team, including director of cinematography, James Laxton (Medicine for Melancholy, The Myth of the American Sleepover), Richard Thompson, Jason Prowell and Shane Sauer. This album will remind you of why you used to buy CDs... Enjoying the full experience... pictures, lyrics, fun.

  • You selected
    Pledge $55 or more

    75 backers

    Everything above PLUS...
    A super comfy screen-printed T-shirt featuring super-hip design by New Orleans architects and designers Lauren Hickman and Joel Ross. In New Orleans we trust this creative tour de force to design our homes and schools...and considering the work they're drumming up, we trust that you'll be sporting these shirts whenever fashion and style is required. It's not just a T-shirt, it's fine art.

  • You selected
    Pledge $125 or more

    12 backers

    Everything above PLUS... your DVD autographed by your favorite artist featured in the movie.

  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    5 backers

    Everything above PLUS...
    A New Orleans Gift Basket: including Chicory coffee, pralines, French body lotions, Mardi Gras treasures, Southern pleasures.

  • You selected
    Pledge $350 or more

    1 backer

    Everything above PLUS...
    The DVD signed by ALL of the principle featured artists in the movie.

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    3 backers

    Everything above PLUS...
    A special invitation for you and a friend to our premier screenings in New Orleans. If you can't make it to the Crescent City, we'll ensure you a seat at the city premier that's nearest to you.

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    2 backers

    Everything above PLUS...
    Your name included in the Supporters section in the closing credits. The perfect date night! For real, how can you beat taking that special someone out for dinner, jazz, cinema and just casually notice your name up on the silver screen?

  • You selected
    Pledge $2,500 or more

    1 backer

    Everything above PLUS...
    A live music tour of New Orleans organized and accompanied by the filmmakers. We guarantee satisfaction. Please email us if you have any questions or to schedule a date.

  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    1 backer

    Everything above PLUS...
    an Associate Producer Credit. Welcome to the team.

  • You selected
    Pledge $10,000

    0 backers

    Everything above PLUS...
    Two nights at a luxurious New Orleans hotel and breakfast with one of the musicians from the film. The city with the richest flavors also includes the best hospitality. We'll walk along the Mississippi, go to festivals (Louisiana has more festivals than days of the year, no joke), ride bikes, or maybe just eat huge po' boy sandwiches and nap all day. You'll need to save some energy for the evenings, trust us.

    Please email us if you have any questions or to schedule a date.

Funding period

- (90 days)