Virtual Speed Cinema Presents River City Drumbeat

Stream at home and support the Speed!  A portion of each streaming purchase goes back to the Museum.

River City Drumbeat
Directed by Marlon Johnson and Anne Flatté

Streaming August 7 – 31

$12 Non-members

$10 Speed members


“The film listens for the community’s heartbeat, finding it’s steady pulse just as expected: healthy and strong.”–Teo Bugbee, The New York Times

River City Drumbeat is a multigenerational story of music, love, and legacies in Louisville. Edward “Nardie” White devoted his life to leading the African-American River City Drum Corp (RCDC) he co-founded with Zambia Nkrumah three decades ago. Together they inspired youth from their West Louisville neighborhood to thrive by connecting them with the art and cultural traditions of their African ancestors.  Their work has been extremely rewarding witnessing many children succeed, and sobering when others fall into traps born out of systemic racism and generational socio-economic circumstances. Through determination and loving mentorship, RCDC remains resilient under its founders’ vision.

RCDC is far more than just a musical entertainment group; it is an organization that provides its members with a blueprint for success in life. Each young drummer makes his or her own drum, using recycled materials. Members learn how to manage all aspects of their performance schedule—not just drum. Students actively build skills needed for personal, academic and social success. They are responsible for scheduling, performance itinerary, and ensuring effective communications between staff, students and staff members where they perform.

When White decides it’s time to step down leader of the organization, Albert Shumake, whose destiny was shaped by the drumline, must take up the mantle for the next generation. Meanwhile, student drummers Imani, Jailen, and Emily navigate adolescence and life changes as they approach the end of high school.

River City Drumbeat follows this creative community of mentors, parents, and youth making their way in a world where systemic forces raise obstacles to fulfilling their dreams.  A selection of the DOC NY Film Festival and the Miami Film Festival and A New York Times Critic’s Pick. 2019, U.S., 95 minutes. Recommended for all ages.

A discussion with co-directors Marlon Johnson and Anne Flatté, RCDC Founder Edward “Nardie” White, and RCDC Executive Director Albert Shumake moderated by Speed Cinema Curator of Film, Dean Otto follows the documentary.

Co-presented with the Louisville Film Society’s Flyover Film Festival