About the Film

BUSK! is a character-driven documentary film that explores the joys and pitfalls of performing on the street for tips. With an inquisitive and playful spirit, the story delves deep into the lives and aspirations of a singer, a magician, and a sketch artist who regularly share their art in uptown Charlotte. From love of art to local law, we live their stories.

Many other artists, including those who participated in the Buskapalooza Street Performance Festival, also share their busking experiences and philosophies on art that reaches beyond the walls of a gallery, theatre, or concert hall.

The thing that really struck me was the level of humanity and inspiration. It makes the audience really care for these people and, more than that, come away admiring them. If I was a young artist, this film would give me such a boost of confidence to keep on keeping on. It shows a strong dedication to a vision and a voice.

– Russell Greene, Editor of Famous Nathan

You get a great sense of the place, the regulars, the laws, the newcomers… and then the big ending! It paints the city in a grey area but shines a light on the artists, and I think there’s real power in that. Really good pacing, uplifting, good portrayal of facts. It’s one of the best things I’ve seen on street performance!

– Nick Broad, Director of The Busking Project

This is a top-quality production and presents the busking experience from a wide range of perspectives. The development towards a discussion of permits and city legislation was well conceived, and it seems that policies and permit systems in Sydney are almost identical. And I’m intrigued to know a more about the bloke who set up at the railway station and paid people 5 cents for them to give him advice.

– Bob Latta (aka Troppo Bob), Busker in Australia

Playful. Serious. Educational. Very much from the heart.

Audiences are allowed a real and meaningful glimpse into the lives of the main characters, and each of them is so incredibly honest and revealing, it’s impossible not to be moved. We see how each gets something unique from busking and how it factors into their lives.

I really like that the end of the film puts the audience within the circle of buskers in a very participatory way, including overviews of local law that show the frustrating complexity of what is or isn’t allowed. Totally enrapturing, fun, and fast-paced. A wonderful journey!

– Ross Wagner, Professor of English & Film Studies

This film project is made possible by the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, the Blumenthal Endowment, and the arts council of Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Rutherford, and York (SC) counties.

The project is also fiscally sponsored by Aubin Pictures, a not-for-profit (501c3) documentary media production company in New York City focused on arts, culture, and social justice issues.