Detropia

Detropia


About the Film

Detroit was the birthplace of the middle class, an industrial utopia where anyone who worked hard enough could experience the American dream. But today, the Motor City, which has essentially been taken over by the state of Michigan, is on the brink of bankruptcy. MORE

In the past 10 years this Midwestern icon has lost one-fourth of its population and half of its manufacturing jobs. City officials are in the midst of the most dramatic “downsizing” of an American city ever seen — demolishing thousands of homes, reconsolidating massive tracts of excess land, cutting basic services, and encouraging Detroiters in marginal neighborhoods to move.

This is a city in the throes of transition. Those who have stuck with the city are at the breaking point while artists and curious outsiders flock to the city in search of inspiration and opportunity.

Racial tension, globalization, greed, and lack of innovation have led to a moment of truth for Detroit. How the Motor City reboots itself will set the example for countless other post-industrial cities with similar fates. And today the entire country is watching to see if this storied metropolis has the courage, creativity, and grit to reinvent itself — or if it will instead implode.

Detropia is a cinematic tapestry that chronicles the lives of several Detroiters trying to survive and make sense of what is happening to their city. An owner of a blues bar, a young blogger, an auto union rep, a group of young artists, an opera impresario, and a gang of illegal “scrappers” make up an unlikely chorus that illuminates the tale of both a city and a country in a soul-searching mood, grasping for a new identity.


The Filmmakers

Heidi Ewing

Rachel Grady

Detroit-area native Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady are the co-directors of Jesus Camp, an Oscar nominated documentary on the Evangelical right. In 2010, Ewing and Grady premiered 12th & Delaware at the Sundance Film Festival. The film takes a candid look at the war between the pro-life and pro-choice factions. Called “innovators of the documentary craft” by Time Magazine, Ewing and Grady made their documentary feature debut in 2005 with The Boys of Baraka, which was nominated for an Emmy and received the NAACP Award for best documentary before airing on PBS.

The duo also co-directed a recent film on Saudi Arabian teens for MTV and participated in an omnibus film adaptation of the bestselling book Freakonomics. They are currently in development on several projects, including a special on great female athletes for ESPN.

Previously, Ewing delved in the dramatic world of Cuban politics with Dissident, a film about the struggle of (now deceased) Havana-based Nobel Peace Prize nominee Oswaldo Paya. Grady is a private investigator turned filmmaker who explored mental illness in the criminal justice system in Mad Justice.

Ewing and Grady are the co-owners of Loki Films, a production company based in New York City.

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Film Credits

Produced and Directed by
Heidi Ewing
Rachel Grady

Executive Producers
Dan Cogan
David Menschel
Producer Craig Atkinson

Editor
Enat Sidi

Cinematography
Tony Hardmon
Craig Atkinson

Original Score
Dial.81
Written and Performed by Blair French

Production Manager
Christina Gonzalez

Sound Recordist
Steve “Stash” Kowalski

Additional Cinematographer
Wolfgang Held

Associate Editor
Erin Casper

Post Production Supervisor
Christina Gonzalez

Supervising Sound Editor
Paul Bercovitch

Sound Effects Editor
John Moros

DI Colorist
Will Cox

Re-Recording Mixer
Tony Volante

Graphics and Title Design
Nuncle

Consultant
Nolan Finley

Featured Tenor
Noah Stewart

Also Featured at the Detroit Opera House
Rachele Gilmore
Michael Wanko
Michigan Opera Theater Orchestra

Performers at the Raven Lounge
The Nyce Band
94 East

Additional Musicians
Violin Sample - Luann French
Keys - Schuyler Campbell
Vibes - Dave Graw

Additional Camera
Eric Kmetz
Christopher Hersey
Drew Dawson

Additional Sound Recordists
Clayton Perry
Michael Lapp

Production Assistants - Detroit
Steven R. Kowalski
Drew Dawson
Mandy Moran
Laura Hartrick

Production Assistants - New York
Robie Flores
Rachel Crane

Chinese Translator
Caleb Ford

Producton Interns
Rachel Blank
Asia Evans
Stephanie Flaemig
Robie Flores
Matt Gleason
Heather Hale
Daniel Hymanson
Rachel Kahn-Taylor
Justin Kremer
Lea Mathiesen
Menemsha Milnor
Jack Mintz
Claire Molloy
Brian Pacek
Ashley Portal
Sekou Sangare
Jenny Tolan

Assistant Re-Recording Mixer
Steve 'Major' Giammaria

Studio Coordinator
Rob Browning

DI Online Editor
Owen Rucker

DI Producer
Caitlin Tartaro

Legal
Victoria S. Cook

Distribution Advisory Services
Cinetic Media

Production Insurance
D. Reiff & Associates

Additional Footage
Archives of Michigan
The Brian Lehrer Show
The Charlie Rose Show
CNBC
National Archives and Records Administration
Prelinger Archives
Steve McGee
Tell US USA

Music

“I Am Coming For My Things”
Written by Missy Mazzoli, Performed By Victoire
Courtesy of Missy Mazzoli Music, Good Child Music,
Domino Publishing, and New Amsterdam Records

“India Whiskey”
Written by Missy Mazzoli, Performed By Victoire
Courtesy of Missy Mazzoli Music, Good Child Music,
Domino Publishing, and New Amsterdam Records

“Taps”
Written by Kai Campos And Dom Maker
Performed by Mount Kimbie
Courtesy of Hotflush Recordings

“Hollywood Swinging”
Written by Robert Earl Bell, Ronald Bell, George Melvin Mickens,
Claydes Augene Smith, Dennis Ronald Thomas, and Richard Allen Westfield
Performed by Kool & The Gang
From the Album “Wild and Peaceful,” 1973

Special Thanks
Steve and Dorota Coy
David Dichiera
Julia Darlow
Jennifer Dennis
Sandi Dubowski
Douglas Easdon
Paul and Mary Sue Ewing
PJ Ewing
Oren Goldberg
Bonnie Goldstein
James Grady
Stephen Henderson
Joel Landy
Nora Moroun
The Mason Radio Show
Laura Poitras
Thom Powers
Craig Regester
“Honest” John and Irene Thompson
Lynn Vance
Norbert Wierszewski
Josh Wolff

Detropia is a co-production of Loki Films, LLC
and the Independent Television Service (ITVS)
in association with Impact Partners and Vital Projects,
with funding provided by the Corporation For Public Broadcasting (CPB).

In Memory of Eileen Ewing

Executive Producer for ITVS
Sally Jo Fifer

Funding Provided by
The Ford Foundation
Sundance Documentary Fund

Detropia is a co-production of Loki Films, LLC and the Independent Television Service (ITVS)
in association with Impact Partners and Vital Projects, with funding provided by the Corporation For Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Detropia was produced by Loki Films, LLC
which is solely responsible for its content.

© 2012 Loki Films, LLC. All rights reserved.

Do you live in a community threatened by urban decay? How are people trying to improve the situation? Is there hope of rising from the ashes?

AWARDS

  • 2014 Emmy Awards
    Outstanding Editing: Documentary and Long Form
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Do you live in a community threatened by urban decay? How are people trying to improve the situation? Is there hope of rising from the ashes?