Louder than a bomb

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July 27th, 2011

Omaha, NE – “Louder than a Bomb,” a film about the art of spoken word, will hit the silver screen this Friday.

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“When I was growing up I was a bit of a trouble maker. Did some things that I regret, damaged a lot of things in the house.”

Louder than a Bomb opens at Filmstreams, featuring a Q&A with the director, on Friday. (Photo credit Chicago Film Festival)

Lamar “The Truth” Jordan, as he calls himself, was 19 years old when he participated Chicago’s “Louder than a Bomb,” the largest high school poetry slam contest of its kind in the world. In a film documenting the competition, Jordan talked about his troubled relationship with his father.

“When I got arrested, my father didn’t cry about that. The first time I made my father cry is the first time he heard me perform poetry.”

Documentary filmmakers Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel followed some of the students who participated in “Louder than a Bomb,” documenting their journey through the contest. In a phone interview with KVNO News, Jacobs said there a many great things about “Louder than a Bomb.”

“It’s not really training them to be poets for their lives,” he said, “but it trains them to think creatively, and use writing to organize their thoughts in so many different ways.”

“It puts kids on the right path and then sends them off into these great places,” Jacobs said, “It’s wonderful.”

Nova steps up to the mic for "Louder than a Bomb." (Photo Courtesy Co-director Greg Jacobs)

Nova is one of the student poets Jacobs referred to. While growing up, Nova had to care for her disabled brother, while her mother worked several jobs to get her kids away from their abusive father. In the film, Nova shared this slam poetry piece about her father.

“By the time I was ten. I was ya wife ya sister ya mother ya best friend and you were bitter. I would feed you chicken soup when you were sick. Kiss your forehead to see how bad ya fever was. But I’m 17 now and we don’t even talk. And sometimes I wish I could tell you how much I miss you, how I wanna wrap my arms around sunken stomach. Dad I love. Wish that you were here to be my papa G again.”

Jacobs said, for Nova, spoken word acted as therapy. She graduated from high school in Chicago, and is now in college. Jacobs also said he hopes programs like this grow well beyond Chicago and move throughout the country.

“They’re also hearing all these truths and really listening. They’re hearing the real stuff that’s going on and the reality of everyday. I think they kind of find themselves changed.”

“The act of listening to all those stories and being a part of that community makes them realize it’s a much wider world, makes them so much more excited to be a part of it,” Jacobs said.

An example one of those “realities” can be found in “Counting Graves,” a piece by the Steinmenauts High School team.

“10…9…8…7 year old boy put 6 feet deep in the 5 foot coffin wonder what 4 why 3 grown man have 2 drive by and he does a couple of bullets…1”

Co-director Greg Jacobs will be in Omaha this Friday for opening night of “Louder than a Bomb.” The film continues running through August 4th, at Film Streams’ Ruth Sokolof Theater in north downtown Omaha.

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