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Local Filmmakers Spotlight Chicago’s ‘Bucket Boys’

Chicago’s “Bucket Boys” have been the center of conversation throughout the city’s South Side since the mid 1990s. Between performing for tourists leaving the “L” Redline or soliciting donations from drivers on the side of the road, the drummers have been known to draw mixed reactions from residents. Two local filmmakers look to remove the instruments and tell the stories of the performers behind the buckets.

“Bucket” is an upcoming documentary that looks to introduce viewers to the instrumental artists of Chicago's South Side. The movie will mark the first major production by Colombia College students and Chicago filmmakers Jarrel and Jerome Lucas. The duo followed several teenage drummers and discovered they had more to offer than just entertainment. The Lucas brothers hope the film will give these teens the spotlight their talents deserve.

“I was inspired because I believe they play an important part in Chicago culture,” Jerome Lucas said. “No one has given them that platform to tell their stories.”

Equipped with 5-gallon buckets and drumsticks, these teens found an unlikely but very visible place in a city full of street performers. Much like other unsolicited entertainers, not everyone is a fan of the “Bucket Boys.”

“Some people see them as beggars, but by us putting their story on film, they see it’s more to them in terms of it just being a hustle.” Jerome  Lucas said.

There are more than a hundred “Bucket Boys” that make up the city and many of them live in impoverished areas, according to the Lucas brothers. The film is set to explore these themes of poverty, adversity and the will to overcome through music.