“What it boils down to is, you’re either for progress or against it. If you’re against it, get the **** out of this region.”
That’s the closing line of “Buildin’ Bridges with Benny Breeze,” a movie meant to promote the Ohio River Bridges Project. The fictional Breeze character (played by local actor Chris Saunders) delivers the missive after a 15-minute monologue that argues the bridges project will update infrastructure, ease traffic congestion and bring jobs to the area.
“Maybe it could put Uncle Elroy back to work,” says Breeze in the movie. “Get Jojo out of the pool hall.”
The movie was produced by businessman and One Southern Indiana member Vaughan Scott. It was written and directed by Louisville filmmakers Brennan Clark and Kyle Crews. But as it neared completion, reports spread that jokes in the film were based on racial stereotypes of African Americans. When the movie premiered live last month, it was cut down to a monologue in favor of the bridges project with few jokes.
“Sometimes I sit around and I dream about what Louisville could be,” says Breeze in the movie’s climax. “Watching other cities, other states: Indianapolis; Nashville; Missouri; Atlanta, all grow. Grow to something way bigger than what Louisville is.”
Clark, Crews and Scott previously told WFPL the “most outrageous” jokes and scenes were cut from the final video. Despite the editing, controversy continued, with anti-toll groups releasing their own video and Scott announcing that the finished film would only be shown live and not posted online as previously planned.
But this morning, Scott sent a link to the video on YouTube to reporters and interested parties. He tells WFPL the decision to put the movie online was based on popular demand. As of 4:15, the clip has fewer than 200 views.
The film was previously promoted by the project’s proponents and Greater Louisville Inc. Scott has declined to say where all of the funding for the film came from, insisting that ninety percent came out of his own pocket.