Photo courtesy of Dallas International Film Festival
In Ben Powell’s Barge, audiences travel with a tugboat crew as they work on the Mississippi River to and from New Orleans. This job attracts a rare breed, those often fascinated by the water and boats. It’s also hard work—gritty and tough.
Barge gracefully connects you with the river, with the tides and currents drifting you along the vivid images of the riverbanks, the barges, the pilothouse and the crew’s quarters. Spending twenty-eight straight days together in intimate surroundings, the crew is close and the tugboat is their home. A former convict shares his hopes for rising in the crew’s ranks. A veteran engineer describes his love of the job and sees no reason to retire soon. A young deck-hand struggles to follow his family into the business. The crew finds peace on the river and many have given their life to this career. As long as the tug is moving barges, they can keep living.