'Detropia' Explores Detroit's Musical Legacy and Industries as the City Crumbles
Detropia is a film about Detroit — a city everybody knows. With its vivid, painterly palette and haunting score, the film plays like poetry in motion as it sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. It's by two phenomenal female filmmakers: Oscar nominated Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp, Freakonomics). 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.
Detroit natives have always been proud of the fact that it was always considered a mecca for some of the best music — whether Motown, Iggy & The Stooges, The White Stripes or Detroit electronica, music has been key to the city. In Detropia, the filmmakers tell the story of Tommy Stephens and the Raven lounge, which was an especially poignant one — including the footnote that he continues to keep the bar open despite all odds. It's his story that echoes so many stories we hear about how it's the people that are working to keep their cities alive.
Detropia will open in theatres September 7th.
Heidi Ewing: Director/Producer: Heidi Ewing was born and raised in the Detroit area around a family manufacturing business. Detropia is her fourth feature length documentary film and is close to her heart. She and her directing partner Rachel Grady made their feature doc debut with The Boys of Baraka, released by ThinkFilm in 2005. The ThinkFilm release followed inner city boys to a boarding school in rural Kenya, won the 2006 NAACP Image Award and aired on PBS's POV series. Jesus Camp, also co-directed with Grady, looks at the Christian right through the eyes of children. The film was nominated for the 2007 Academy Award for Documentary Feature. The directing team collaborated with several high profile nonfiction filmmakers for the 2009 omnibus documentary film Freakonomics: The Movie, based on the best-selling book. Their controversial 12th & Delaware, a searing portrait of the battle between a crisis pregnancy center and an abortion clinic, debuted at Sundance in 2010, won a Peabody Award and aired on HBO. Previously, Ewing directed Dissident, a documentary short about the struggle of Havana-based Nobel Peace Prize nominee Oswaldo Paya. The film was made clandestinely and shown around the world. Ewing is the co-owner of Loki Films, which produces non-fiction motion pictures, television programs and commercials.
Rachel Grady: Director/Producer: A private investigator turned filmmaker, Rachel Grady has produced and directed a wide variety of documentaries for HBO, PBS, The Discovery Channel, MTV and A&E. She was the series producer for TX, an eight part documentary series for VH1 shot entirely inside a drug rehab. She and her directing partner Heidi Ewing co-directed The Boys of Baraka, the critically acclaimed documentary feature that was released by ThinkFilm, won a 2006 NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary Film, and garnered an Emmy nomination. Her feature documentary, Jesus Camp, also co-directed with Ewing, chronicles the Evangelical movement through the eyes of children. A collaboration with A&E IndieFilms, Jesus Camp was released theatrically by Magnolia Pictures before being nominated for an Academy Award. Grady and Ewing also collaborated with several high profile nonfiction filmmakers for the omnibus documentary film Freakonomics: The Movie, based on the best-selling book. Grady’s last documentary, 12th & Delaware, co-directed with Ewing and winner of a Peabody Award, is a searing portrait of a street corner in Fort Pierce, Florida, where a pro-life crisis pregnancy center and an abortion clinic are locked in battle. Grady is the co-founder of Loki Films, a New York based production company.