Keep it in the Streets
Review by Mark Schwab
April 12th, 2019
"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."
Despite all of our social media matrixes, it's incredible how many folks feel as if they still have no voice. I think good documentary filmmakers know that most people - if approached right - will smile and jump at the opportunity to share of themselves on camera. With their feature-length documentary KEEP IT IN THE STREETS, Director Everett Bumstead and his crew have proven themselves to be very good documentary filmmakers.
Shot on the streets of Vancouver, B.C. the doc's premise seems simple on the surface; find random strangers on the street and ask them some esoteric questions (i.e. "Where is the love?", "What kind of movie should we make?") and hope to capture "interesting stuff". But I think there is much more going on here than meets the eye and that intrigued me even more. It's only 70 minutes long but I completely lost track of the runtime and was surprised when it ended. I could have watched this for much longer. The editing and cinematography are beautifully sculpted to a dreamlike pace that I would bet mirrors the experience of many of the people interviewed and all of the music - from the score right down to the live street musicians - is in perfect sync with the imagery. There is actual filmmaking on display here, not just scraggly footage scrounged on the streets.
What ultimately emerges is a tapestry of human diversity that is never played for exploitive or political purposes. Literally every single person put on camera here has something interesting to say and I immediately cared about them. And yet, most critically, I never felt sorry for any them...I just wanted to know them all better. That is what good doc filmmaking is all about. The respect for the people featured here is evidenced in every frame.
In looking up the screener link for KEEP IT IN THE STREETS, director Everett Bumstead says that his film "had no success in the film festival circuit despite over 40 submissions worldwide." If true, then the film festival circuit is in more dire shape than I thought because Bumstead has created a wonderful documentary that defies conventions, creates empathy and celebrates the true artist. It's the type of film best viewed as if you decided to go out for a walk on a lovely Spring day with no tasks and feeling grateful for being alive.
Everett, those film festivals that rejected you had beauty put in front of them and they simply couldn't see it. KEEP IT IN THE STREETS is an indie doc treasure.
To watch the entire film (and you should), click this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvJyhhlqQ_U