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An S&A Conversation w/ 'Detropia' Helmers Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady (Opens In NYC Today!)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act September 7, 2012 at 12:16PM

One of the 6 films on our list of films we think you definitely should see this fall, assuming it comes to your city, is the critically-acclaimed Sundance Film Festival 2012 feature documentary, Detropia, from directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.
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Detropia

One of the 6 films on our list of films we think you definitely should see this fall, assuming it comes to your city, is the critically-acclaimed Sundance Film Festival 2012 feature documentary, Detropia, from directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.

It was only 1 of 2 documentaries on our fall films list - one that we've lauded here on S&A, since its Sundance 2012 debut, where I saw it and reviewed.

In short, I was moved by it. Co-directors Ewing and Grady create an almost otherworldly look at a *decaying* city; once a vibrant metropolis with almost 2 million inhabitants not-so-long ago, as workers (including many African Americans escaping the Jim Crow south) migrated north in search of jobs within all those then flourishing auto manufacturing plants, leading to a rise in the middle class; but now a city with around 700,000 people, a ghost of its former self, littered with abandoned buildings (skyscrapers and homes), empty lots and streets, that make it look as if a war broke out, or, as one person noted in the film, as if a bomb was dropped in the middle of the city.

Thanks to its painterly images, tt's a film that must be experienced on the big screen, and hopefully many of you will get that opportunity, starting today, Friday, September 7th, 2012, when the film opens, first in New York City at IFC Center, and will continue to expand throughout the fall - depending on how well it does in its early outing, which means, if you're at all interested in seeing it, and you live in NYC, you should see it this weekend.

The filmmakers are releasing Detropia independently, and as widely as possible, which means lots of money will need to be spent; they were able to raise over $70,000 via Kickstarter (their original campaign goal was to raise $60,000) and their plan is to "go beyond the usual coastal cities that consume indie film and into regions, theaters and venues that want to see the movie but can't."

Further, as they state:

Our plan is to build an independent release of at least 25 American cities. At the same time we’ll be doing more screenings with communities and educational institutions where spirited debates and discussions can take place around the story of DETROPIA.

Again, the film opens in NYC today, at IFC Center, and will continue to expand throughout the fall.

It was one of the highlights of my Sundance 2012 experience, and is highly-recommended.

I had the opportunity to chat with Heidi and Rachel in person a couple of weeks ago, and, in transcribing the conversation, I reached the conclusion that it would be better received in its original form, instead of as written text. In listening to all 30 minutes, I loved the casual nature of the conversation, and the vibrancy, and energy, if you will, which I didn't think would really come across, or be captured as words on a screen.

So, I edited the audio file a bit, removing some off-the-record items, and what's left of the conversation, about 26 minutes, is embedded in the player below, so have a listen. It's informative, and hopefully it'll encourage you even more to want to see the film (along with the trailer, and clip also embedded below, underneath the interview): 

This article is related to: DETROPIA


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