Bucket – A Lucas Brothers Documentary
If you live or work in Chicago’s South Loop, then chances are you’ve heard “The Bucket Boys” orchestrating rhythms as they sit on crates using white buckets as their sole instrument. You walk by (or sometimes stop) to take in their sound and perhaps even drop a dollar or two while strolling through downtown.
To some, it’s creative entertainment — check out the beats, hand tricks with drumsticks. Some may be agitated by the constant pounding, and others may have experienced whiplash as they ran past you trying to escape the police.
For us, it’s entertainment. For them, it’s a way of life and survival.
And it wasn’t until two South Side brothers from Roseland with a camera and skill for storytelling came along that the story of these bucket boys would be brought to life.
Thanks to the vision of twin brothers Jarell and Jerome Lucas, collectively known as the Lucas Brothers, the gritty documentary Bucket captures the synched beat of five members from group, which originated in the mid-’90s on the South Side of Chicago. More than just delivering an admirable homage to the beat makers and shadowing them as they traverse the streets of downtown Chicago — five-pound buckets and drumsticks in tow — to hopefully make a few dollars, the Lucas Brothers zone in on five of the 100 total group members and unveils their personal stories.
“We went by whose story had the most depth to it,” Jerome told JET. “Some were just ongoing beating the bucket and some just really wanted to change their life.”
Jarell adds, “You get different stories and lifestyles from each one. Some dropped out of school, some live in poverty. We’re basically showing the transition from being poor and then by the end of the documentary, some of them are actually getting back in school, getting jobs and improving their lives.”
Shot with a Panasonic GH3 camera and color corrected using monochrome (a black and white film filter), the aesthetic of Bucket touches with a heartfelt approach. From the daily challenges of trying to support family while maintaining a drama-free profile in order to avoid police, the struggle for the bucket boys as well as the filmmakers is a tough one.
Some of the agitation the street performers receive from authorities could stem from the fact that their performances are, in fact, illegal. Permits and licenses are required, meaning funds remain a necessity.
“That’s actually what the Kickstarter is for,” says Jarell. “We’re trying to raise the funds to make sure all those licenses go through – so that we’re able to shoot anywhere downtown or the South Side because that seems to be the problem. We actually want to pay for it with help through the crowd funding. That’s the best move we could think of.”
Eighty percent of this film is complete and with your support, the remaining 20 will add to the final stages. Through their Kickstarter campaign, the Lucas Brothers are looking to raise $25,000 over the next seven days. A percentage of the proceeds will go toward showing the documentary to the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago.
South Side Chicago developed on the backs of artists and jazz musicians. This is a tradition the Lucas Brothers hope to revive with Bucket.
“There’s more to the South Side than just violence. We’re actually trying to provide more of the positivity of the South Side — the culture, the art, the jazz — and we figured our story on the bucket boys is going to do that.”
For more information about Bucket, visit bucketdocumentary.com.