Past Film/Video | Documentaries

River City Drumbeat

(Marlon Johnson and Anne Flatté, 2019)

Stream | Columbus Premiere

A close-up shot of a youth drum line in marching band uniforms

Witness music’s power to bind a community together with this award-winning doc about a program that connects Louisville youth to the cultural traditions of their African ancestors.

For 30 years, Edward “Nardie” White has devoted his life to the River City Drum Corp Cultural Arts Institute, a nonprofit he founded to serve at-risk children in his West End neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. Now, with retirement approaching, he must train his successor, Albert Shumake, who himself benefitted from the group since he was a kid, to lead the expanding organization.

Marlon Johnson and Anne Flatté’s vérité-style documentary follows this creative community of mentors, parents, and young people and shows us how music can connect people in unexpected ways—and inspire a little friendly competition in the form of rousing, high-energy drum battles. (95 mins., digital video) Closed captioning available.

"The film listens for this community’s heartbeat, finding its steady pulse just as expected: healthy and strong."

More about the film

A close-up shot of a youth drumline in marching band uniforms

Image courtesy of the producers

Several young men and boys in black track suits play marching snare drums

Image courtesy of the producers

A young woman wearing a blouse with a color print crashes hand cymbals

Image courtesy of the producers

A profile shot of Ed White wearing glasses and a straw hat

Image courtesy of the producers

Greater Columbus Arts Council
Ohio Arts Council
American Electric Power Foundation
The Columbus Foundation
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Nationwide Foundation

Huntington Bank
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Kaufman Development
Cardinal Health Foundation


Past Film/Video

River City Drumbeat