Barge (screening)

      • Directed by: Ben Powell
      • Produced by: Ben Powell & Dave Schachter
Released: 2015 Educational release 
Running Time: 71 min 
Language:  Close Captioned 
Subjects: Anthropology, Worker's Rights

A towboat drifts down the Mississippi River, due for the port of New Orleans. The water, the banks, the bright lights of a port ahead, the lure of a coming paycheck and a home-cooked meal: This is the world of Barge. On board, dry land’s misfits find purpose and direction twenty-eight days at a time as the steady hands of an industrial ecosystem teeming with line boats, fleet boats, and a few million tons of cargo moved each year. Amongst the crew are a green deckhand following his father and grandmother into their family business, a former convict working his way upward in hope of being First Mate, a thirty-eight-year-old veteran engineer in no hurry to retire, all on the ancient waterway pulling a double shift as the backbone of the national economy. As long as the boat’s moving, they’re making money. Barge is an intimate portrait of the machinery of American ambitions.


Reviews / Quotes:

“Compelling mix of the magnificent and the humdrum.”
Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

“Barge portrays the ballet of industrial America.”
Kate X Messer, The Austin Chronicle

“A meditative microcosm of America and the American Dream”
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

“A breath of fresh air”
Mike McCutchen, Ain't It Cool News

“…what’s there is fascinating, with the hypnotic pull of the currents dragging us along into the existence of these men……showing us both the good and bad in his protagonists”
Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail

“...a powerfully shot and in-depth look into the struggles of living the isolated life of a barge worker.”
Alex White, Examiner

“First-time director Ben Powell finds a rhythm and beauty in their seemingly mundane treks through America’s waterways.”
Matthew Jacobs, Huffington Post