Directed by Lily Keber the film documentary Bayou Maharajah tells the extraordinary story of New Orleans rhythm and blues musician James Carroll Booker III, the flamboyant “Piano Prince of New Orleans.” A child prodigy and son of a piano playing Baptist minister who at a young age was struck by an ambulance and given morphine for pain relief, an act that would plague him for the rest of his life with both addiction and mental illness.
For much of his working life he made a living playing as a sideman for the stars including the likes of Fats Domino, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Ringo Starr and the Doobie Brothers.
This roller coaster portrait traces Booker’s life from his early years as a chart-topping child prodigy, to his star-studded years touring and playing as a sideman, through his outrageous solo career in America and Europe. First-person narrators lead the viewer through Booker’s unbelievable onstage performances, occasionally in his underwear, dishing out drug-fueled conspiracy theories. Featuring interviews with the likes of Harry Connick Jr., Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint and Dr. John who described him as “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced”. Together with a generous helping of archival footage, the film brings to life the unforgettable story of this amazing musician.
Bayou Maharajah has already won a series of awards, including Best Southern Film (Oxford American), Best Louisiana Feature (New Orleans Film Festival), Jury Mention (New Orleans Film Festival), Grand Jury Prize (Fairhope Film Festival) and a Paramount Award (Asbury Park Music in Film Festival).
Sold out worldwide screenings include South By South West (Texas) Film Society at Lincoln Center (NYC), Outfest and Don’t Knock The Rock (Los Angeles), Melbourne International Film Festival, Barbican Centre and Hackney Picturehouse (London), Noise Pop Festival (San Francisco), Le Comptoir Général (Paris), Ponente International Film Festival (Rome), St. Louis Film Festival and Milwaukee Film Festival.
First ever DVD release out August 26th 2016 via Cadiz music
Principal Cast: Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, Charles Neville, Douglas Brinkley, Harry Connick, Jr., Hugh Laurie
Directed by: Lily Keber
Produced By: Lily Keber, Nathaniel Kohn, Stephen Rose, Mark Sperling
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Friday 8th – Oswestry, Kinokulture
Friday 8th – Saturday 9th – London, Bernie Grant Arts Centre
Friday 8th – Thursday 14th – Bristol, Watershed
Fri 8th – Sun 10th, Wed 13th – Thur 14th – Derby, QUAD
Saturday 9th – Colchester, First Site
Thursday 14th – Bury St Edmunds, Abbeygate Cinema
Friday 15th – Thursday 21st – London, DocHouse Curzon
Monday 18th – Derry, Nerve Centre
Tuesday 19th – Wednesday 20th – Hebden Bridge, Picture House
Thursday 21st July- London, ernie Grant Arts Centre
Friday 22nd – Thursday 28th – London, Picturehouse Central
Saturday 23rd – Hastings, Electric Palace
Saturday 23rd – London, Bernie Grant Arts Centre
Sunday 24th – Saffron Walden, Saffron Screen
Monday 25th – Norwich, Cinema City
Monday 25th – London, Hackney Picturehouse
Monday 25th – London, Ritzy Cinema Brixton
Monday 25th – London, Crouch End Picturehouse
Wednesday 27th – London, Regent Street Cinema
Sunday 31st – Leeds, Hyde Park Picturehouse
Monday 1st – Tuesday 2nd – Edinburgh, Film House
Tuesday 2nd – Manchester, Home
Wednesday 3rd – London, Regent Street Cinema
Thursday 4th – Leeds, Hyde Park Picturehouse
Thursday 4th – London, Bernie Grant Arts Centre
Sunday 14th – London, Bernie Grant Arts Centre