NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) –There’s so much to the uniqueness of New Orleans and it’s exuberant spirit. Jazz funerals are the everyday holidays that salute the crossing of New Orleans’ “dearly departed.” Second Lines are also the rhythmic memory of traditions that are well over 300 years old. City of a Million Dreams, is a new documentary film by Filmmaker and Author Jason Berry, that celebrates that legacy.

“I think this is a city that has such an authentic roots culture. It attracts people, who want a sense of the authentic and being in a place that does have deep roots and a celebrated history that is shown in the food, music and the dramas,” explains Jason Berry.

Monique Moss is a celebrated choreographer and the films Creative Director and says, “it’s really about the freedom of movement of the body that is connected to music here. You can see it in second lines in the streets. Dance is extremely intertwined in the daily lives of the people of this town.”

The film covers topics, such as Hurricane Katrina, the Civil Rights Movement, slavery, Congo Square and the Ring Shout Dances of enslaved people. These dances with drums and atmosphere are where jazz music and second line tradition were born. The themes expressed tell a comprehensive emotional story of New Orleans.

“I think the takeaway from this film is that New Orleans is a city that carries is memory in rituals of music death and grieving. In a sense we are at our best when we bury the dead, because we celebrate life,” says Berry.

The City of a Million Dreams idea began almost 25 years ago, when Jason Berry was using his camera to record jazz funerals in the late 1990’s. Over the years, the City of a Million Dreams book was published in 2018.

Monique Moss believes the film has a sacred feel to it and was elated to work on the film saying, “It’ has this ancestral element running through it all the time. We tell the story of a music that was created from Congo Square, that is critical to death practice and funerary practices. Clearly, we are talking about something that is ethereal and spiritual.”

The City of a Million Dreams is being shown over the next four nights at the Broad Theatre and again at the Jefferson Parish Library on May 18th.