Category Archive: Good News

MANTRACITY Mural #3 Complete! “Plant a seed, watch it grow”

We are still rolling out the MANTRACITY series of murals– simple, message-based paintings throughout the city– that aim to uplift and casually inspire. The latest installment in the series is part of the Georgia Street Community Collective and is located on the east side of Detroit at Georgia Street and Vinton.

Mark Covington, the garden and community collective’s chairman, has been a longtime friend of DL! and so it’s been fun working with him to create a mural that spiced up the area behind the collective’s community center, greenhouse, goat pen and children’s playground.

Funding and concept for this mural came from DL!, with design skills from Nick Jaroch. Nick also led all the painting and has been involved in all of our MANTRACITY murals to date. Alex Lauri was out there for his first mural. Nick has been brought on boar with DL! to lead the charge pumping these murals out until it’s too cold! Stay tuned for more.

Pics below:




Google Maps Ad Takes You to Detroit

See the new Google Maps ad for yourself. Bravo (I wish we knew who put this together!), it’s very great:

New Client Work: United Way for Southeastern Michigan

When you think of Detroit Public Schools, the first image is never pretty. In the last few years, many schools have closed under the reigns of an emergency manager. In 2008, high school graduation rates across the district were below 25%. And let’s be honest, practically everyone drops the education system in the discussion when talking about moving to the city and trying to raise a family. It’s hard.

About two months ago, Matt Dibble from Final Five Productions approached us to create a film, practically a mini-documentary, for a client of his– United Way for Southeastern Michigan. When he discussed that it was to be about two Detroit high schools that went from a 35% to 95% graduation rate, we were almost skeptical. As we interviewed principals and students for the piece, we realized how moving the story really was. What resulted is a short film about real movement in the city. Sure, we’ll be the first to admit there is a long way to go, but this film represents tangible steps in a positive forward direction.

Video for TechTown “wows” Clinton Global Initiative Crowd in Chicago

You hear a lot about Midtown. About downtown. And for good reason– there’s a lot of development going on. Often you hear the gripes of residents in the city aiming to turn the lens of the camera from that glistening hope to the neighborhoods where the real growth needs to occur in order for the city to move forward. So naturally, when we were asked by TechTown to make a video on a program they are doing in Brightmoor, we got a little excited to be a part of telling that story.

As Crain’s explains in this article, TechTown took the video to Chicago for the Clinton Global initiative and “wowed” the crowd. Leslie Smith, CEO of TT, presented the piece. We were so excited and honored to have been a part of relaying such a fine message about Detroit for such a respected national event. See the full video here:

TechTown Detroit from DETROIT LIVES! on Vimeo.

2012 Reel is Steaming Hot off the Press

We’re feeling pretty great about the last year– a luandry list of new clients, a documentary screening worldwide and a whole bunch of new faces we got to work with. Check out our 2012 reel below:

2012 Reel from DETROIT LIVES! on Vimeo.

HOW YA DO: Great New Music Video by Detroit Artist Beverly Fre$h

Check out new video from Beverly Fre$h on Detroit-based label sUPERIORbelly. Hot diggity damn do I ever wish we could say we made this video. Sadly, we cannot. Note: The “HOW YA DO,” is an original dance move, resembling a frantic handshake along with an uncontrollably shaky leg that was introduced by Beverly Fre$h on the second single from his latest album “BED” on sUPERIORbelly Records.

Thanks 2012, Hello 2013. Here we go!

Whew. We’ve emerged from the holidays which is good news.

2012 was a good year– we grew as an operation considerably as we continue to grow in to our “agency” shoes bringing on three new people to help on the media production side with film, print and motion graphics. Our work appeared in a commercial in front of 12 million people during the World Series. We grew our client base some 300%. We made a documentary that toured the world screening in 12 different countries with notable festival inclusions like Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival. As such, we continue to shape the narrative coming out of Detroit and we are very proud of that.

After the Factory Film Trailer from DETROIT LIVES! on Vimeo.

“After the Factory” – On the Road from DETROIT LIVES! on Vimeo.

“Be a Venture” – Detroit Creative Corridor Center from DETROIT LIVES! on Vimeo.

For 2013 we’ve got lots of new and interesting projects on the burner. We’re still gathering our guns with the remote control race car track at the Georgia Street Community Garden (more info on that here). You’ll continue to see client work in the familiar areas– for Model D TV, the Urban Innovation Exchange and Creative Mornings Detroit— and some new work with clients that spans familiar and new. We’re designing a large graphic wall for a Michigan-based agency at the moment which is pretty fun, and working with two large Detroit-based companies to put together some ads for the work they do across the country. Not too bad.

So, Happy New Year of course. And cheers to a great 2012 and an even better 2013.

It’s Been a While! Hello! …And other notes of progress.


Geez, after something of a hiatus though. For no good reason other than what you may have predicted… “We’ve been busy!” But you expected that, right? Why else would have there have been such an awkward silence? But hey, things have been happening—

Development news seems to be abundant– A new BDubs! Bagger Daves next door! The new Illitch Hockey Arena! The first HATCH business (HUGH) is open! The nights have been fun– Macklemore came to Detroit! Noel Night was smashing! Creative Mornings is now happening in Detroit! Ernie plays slow jams on Mondays at the Woodbridge Pub!

It’s all good.

To boot, we’ve got some great client projects coming down the pipe in the first quarter of 2013 that we are pumped about. Been working with some new clients that are exerting a bit of faith in our process which is fun– ie, we are getting to do more and more in terms of crafting content both in scope and reach. So that’s cool. We’re also looking at a new proper office downtown which has been kind of fun– albeit slow– process. It’s kind of fun seeing all the spaces and envisioning what our little LAUNCH PAD could look like. It’d be fun to throw a party when we open? We’ll see.

As a send off, check out a piece we just completed on Supino Pizzeria for the UIX folks. Dave Mancini is cool as a cucumber– both cause his pizza is stellar, but because he possesses an unassuming knack for recognizing authentic talent and supporting it. Check it out, and WORD UP for now people!

Urban Innovation Exchange: Dave Mancini, Supino Pizzeria from DETROIT LIVES! on Vimeo.

“After the Factory” Wins Two Prizes at Michigan-based Film Festivals

This past weekend “After the Factory” came out a winner at two film festivals: the Ann Arbor Polish Film Festival and the East Lansing Film Festival. ATF took the Jury Prize in Ann Arbor and Best Documentary at the East Lansing Film Festival.

In Ann Arbor, it felt as if the film was screening to a hometown Polish audience with barely any English heard spoken amongst the audience. As a result, viewers were intimately familiar with Lodz and its relative position in Poland and Europe as a whole, which really increased their level of engagement and understanding. A very thoughtful discussion ensued after the screening followed by the award being presented later in the evening.

We screened in East Lansing the following night amongst a host of other compelling documentaries, one of which was called “Jane of all Trades” and looked at the economic impact of the film incentives that the state has used in the past to encourage film productions to film in the state of Michigan. One audience member pointed out the relevance of our two docs screening together given that each film underscored the importance of both sides of the spectrum– the DIY, hell or high water ethos in ATF and the more structured approach that the film incentives offer.

All in all, a fine weekend!

Lean, Mean and Green: A Look at the Future of Detroit and Other Rust Belt Cities

We’ve been very fortunate over the last year or so to be talking quite frequently about the future of American cities after making the film “After the Factory” and taking it on the road through the USA and Europe. The conversations– ideas about teaming up with other cities, building idea sharing platforms, personal stories, brave ideas, other projects– have been nothing short of phenomenal. It’s both invigorating and enlightening to be a part of all that dialogue.

Beyond our project, it’s amazing to see others popping out of the woodwork from seemingly every angle expanding on the idea that something has to happen to fuel the revolution. Given the trials and tribulations of many places in the Americas/Europe/Asia, What will next-generation cities look and feel like? How will we tackle income inequality? How do we fine tune the strength of the middle class? How do we re-tool our values system to help put our cities on the right track– not just in the Rust Belt, or in Detroit, but in places across the Atlantic, too? Hell, even China?

A great new project that seems to expand beautifully on this platform is the film project “Lean, Mean and Green” by One of Us Films and Carrie LeZotte. It serves as an extension of John Gallagher’s book “Re-imagining Detroit” (which this blog has discussed on many occasions). Carrie is working to complete the film in the near future and has initiated a Kickstarter campaign— the same platform that funded the work of “After the Factory.” Consider becoming a supporter with just $10 getting you a digital download of the whole film. In the meantime, check out some snippets below that unearth some really great material on this incredibly important topic.

More interviews and snippets from the film can be found here.