The Whole Gritty City

The Whole Gritty City is a unique, fascinating window into the little-known world of New Orleans school marching bands. This dramatic, music-filled documentary follows kids in three bands as the directors get them ready to perform in the Mardi Gras parades, and teach them to succeed and to survive. Navigating the urban minefield through moments of setback, loss, discovery, and triumph, these children and their adult leaders reveal the power and resilience of a culture. A 2016 ALA Notable Video, it was broadcast nationally as a CBS News Special hosted by Wynton Marsalis.

The film is available here with French or Spanish subtitles.

Buying or renting the 89-minute film also gets you 12 video additional scenes featuring characters and bands from the film

"Heartbreaking and hopeful" - LA Times
"Inspirational" - NPR Fresh Air
"We left the film shaken, mobilized" -
"Glorious" - David Simon (The Wire, Treme)
"A celebration of music, joy and hope" -
"Highly recommended" - Booklist, School Library Journal, Educational Media Review
ALA 2016 list of notable videos for adults