On Va Continuer! is a rockumentary that follows Louisiana band Lost Bayou Ramblers as they continue to preserve the French language in Louisiana and reinvent Cajun culture through their genre-bending music. Our film is a look into the modern Cajun lifestyle, and it’s a realization that the "dying" language of Louisiana French may not be so dead after all.
How It All Started
This story found us. Filmmaker Bruno Doria was documenting the aftermath of the devastating 2016 floods in Maurice, LA, when he met frontman Louis Michot. We began attending Lost Bayou Ramblers’ shows and filming their performances and we were instantly entranced by their heart-pounding music. The music was familiar to us, but they played with sounds and gusto that we’d never felt before in the traditional tunes.
Louis, his bandmates, and their community totally opened up their experiences to us, and we caught a raw glimpse into a magical subculture—a new generation of Louisianians who were living the language and the life-style of their Cajun past.
We connected strongly with this community and their lifestyle. They reminded us that we are part of a culture unlike any other, one that is truly unique and worth preserving. We saw how the Ramblers’ used their music to serve their culture, and now we have the opportunity to do the same with our film.
This movie is about preservation. The idea that Cajun music and the French language are part of a dying Louisiana culture is a very real concern, but we’re not going to let that happen. Lost Bayou Ramblers are reinvigorating the music, and applying the old ways of living to everyday modern life. This film teaches an important message: Cajun culture is not a thing of the past, it’s alive and evolving.
The most important thing for preservation of the culture and language right now is to tell genuine and honest stories about the people living it out. With this film, our aim is give audiences a taste of true, modern Cajun culture, to pay respect to the past while inviting an unobstructed future for Cajun life. And what better way to tell this story than through the one language we all understand - music.
We’re all Louisiana natives that met in film school at the University of New Orleans. Since then we’ve worked on (seriously) no less than one hundred short films, television shows, commercials, music videos, and large studio productions, until we finally got the opportunity to make our own first feature film last year - that we successfully funded through a $25k Kickstarter!
Bruno Doria meeting Louis in 2016 was the beginning of our film’s story. He handles all of the creative elements on screen visually as the cinematographer and editor, and thematically as the film’s director.
Bruno has been shooting his own projects for over ten years and has had several unique film opportunities working in his home state, including being involved in the production of Oscar-award nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild, and being behind the lens on music videos for Big Freedia, Mavis Staples, Arcade Fire, Samantha Fish, Givers, and of course, Lost Bayou Ramblers. In 2013 he founded Worklight Pictures, an indie New Orleans-based production company, with a goal of creating original feature projects - like this doc!
Lizzie Guitreau was born and raised in South Louisiana (if you couldn’t tell by her last name). Her first job in the industry was as a coordinator for “NCIS: New Orleans,” but she soon found that her heart lies in the NOLA indie film scene. She works as Chief of Production for Worklight Pictures, alongside Bruno Doria, and is concurrently producing Worklight’s two feature film endeavors.
Lizzie is producing the film, ensuring the team stays on track with the timeline and budget.
Lee Garcia is the newest addition to the Worklight team! He is co-producing the film, as well as recording sound during production and handing the sound design in post. Lee was also involved in the team's first in-house feature, Easy Does It, as co-producer and Assistant Director. He grew up in Lake Charles, where he still today plays Cajun-inspired music with his country band, Canebreakers.
Lost Bayou Ramblers are not just any old Louisiana band.
The band was formed in 1999 by brothers Andre and Louis Michot after cutting their performance teeth on the roots Cajun music they learned as kids in their family’s band. As they grew and progressed, their interpretation of the traditional Cajun music genre did too.
With the latest members of the band - Eric, Kirkland, Bryan, and Johnny - the Ramblers began experimenting and expanding with psychedelic, punk, and world rhythm sounds, bringing new levels of energy, life, and spontaneity to their conventional roots. Consider them mad scientists of Cajun music.
The Ramblers received a second Grammy nomination in 2017 for their latest album, Kalenda, and made history with their win this year.
We believe On Va Continuer! tells an important story, a story that people want to hear, a story with value.
We were fortunate to receive the 2018 #CreateLouisiana French Culture Film grant and the support of their sponsors--TV5MONDE USA, Deep South Studios, Cox Communications, and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities--which helped elevate our movie’s production value.
We have a confirmed 2019 New Orleans premiere of the film and TV5MONDE USA already has a first look deal for potential broadcast on its channel.
We've taken our documentary from a short idea to a feature film, but we need the extra push to get the message out around the world.
Here’s what we mean:
1. Finishing funds for Post-Production - Recording an original score, final sound mixing, coloring the film, and hiring the crew to get it done quickly and professionally.
2. Marketing and Advertising - The costs of spreading the word about our film, so that our message can be heard by all audiences.
3. Distribution - This is perhaps our highest ambition, as we’ve seen the film grow into a story that connects with audiences across cultures and state lines. We want as many people as possible to have the access to our film, especially those who are not familiar with the music or the culture. In order to have our film see the distribution likes of a television broadcast, to have it hosted on an online platform like Netflix or Fandor, or even to be shown in a public screening means we have to be ready to fund the film at that level.
4. Legal Fees & Insurance - Although it’s not the most glamorous part of filmmaking, it’s 100% necessary to make sure our movie is able to be shown at festivals, in theaters, and on television.
A donation of any size is a HUGE help to us. When you make a pledge to this campaign, you're supporting a movement of Louisianians, young and old, who are striving to preserve our culture.
If you can't support today, even sharing this Kickstarter campaign with friends and family on social media will help us in a big way to get the word out about our film.
Risks and challenges
The caveat of Kickstarter is that if we do not meet our goal before the deadline (October 8th, midnight), all the funds are returned to the donors. We would not have the funds to get our film out in front of audiences across the US and beyond.
Fortunately, we already have the support of #CreateLouisiana and the confidence of Lost Bayou Ramblers and their fans. We need this Kickstarter to be successful so we can follow through with a polished documentary and so we can make sure the film is seen by the widest possible audience, not just in Louisiana but all around the world!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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