Progress! Documentary to be Titled “After the Factory”

The quick update on the film: We’re almost at picture lock (being done with the film), we’re looking at premiere venues and we’ve settled on a title.

In terms of editing, we’re nearing the final stages, just swapping out shots here and there and making little tweaks to get the piece finalized. We’ve arranged for coloring through our friends over at Ringside Creative, which we are really excited about. After that’s done, we’ll do the final sound mix and then this thing is ready for the big screen. It’s kind of crazy, January 6th will be the one year mark when this project first came to mind– the day I got an email from a guy named Michal in Lodz, talking about his city was just like Detroit. He would become our producer in Lodz. Now, just shy of one year later, the film is shot and we are nearing the final cut stage. That’s something to be proud of.

We’ve settled on a title– “After the Factory.” Simple, straightforward and indicative of what the film is trying to wrap its arms around. What next? What can we do? What can two cities in the same position learn from one another?

We are hoping to announce a premiere soon. “After the Factory” will play first in Detroit and Lodz, that’s for sure. We will then be taking it on a screening tour, all of which is currently in the works. We’re really pumped though, as a lot of groups on both continents are interested in helping us get the film out there. All the while, we will be sending it off to film festivals. So, lots of good stuff ahead.

Once again, a hearty thanks to readers who were a part of our Kickstarter campaign to fund the project. None of this would be happening without you. When you are sitting at the premiere watching it, I hope that if even for just a few seconds you can kind of feel like this film is your own.

Documentary Film Updates and Ty Cobb

Filming has begun for the Detroit portion of the latest DL! documentary (info here) and we’re pretty pumped. We’re rocking a pretty great team with Steven Oliver on the camera and Nick Enright rocking the sound. Sean Redenz, when he’s available, just helps with everything– a true jack of all trades. We’ve got a full schedule for the next two weeks, after which we’ll be capturing b-roll and then hound-dogging this boat right in to post production (editing). There’s some film festivals that have rough cut late submission deadlines at the end of September, so we’re gunning for that. It’s awfully ambitious given that the film is looking to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-45 minutes (don’t quote me on that), but hey, I guess that’s how we roll.

In the meantime, I’ll be doing my best to talk about fantastic articles like this one– click here– discussing ex-Detroit Tiger Ty Cobb, the Woodbridge neighborhood and the future trajectory of the city. This line about sums it all up:

“Ty Cobb can be a cruel man, and at the same time be a misunderstood hero. Detroit can be both a ravaged, bleeding city and an inspired place where creative people are imagining new ways for an urban center to be successful. In fact, that’s exactly what is true.”

Author Anna Clark hits the nail on the head in many ways balancing Detroit’s sugar sweet and sour, using Cobb as the comparison device. In a lot of ways it totally works. It’s also rich with history and things that I never knew about Detroit which makes it that much more worthwhile. Just read the article. Really. It’s worth it.

Poland Update #3: The Documentary’s Progress and Media Coverage

So, things are progressing well with the documentary. Yesterday we were fortunate enough to get an interview with the President of Lodz– the equivalent of Mayor Bing in Detroit. We talked about the two cities, potential for collaboration and how we could actually do that, and then a discussion of policy that Lodz has initiated that has helped move the city forward. Otherwise, we’ve talked to business owners, designers, urban planners, bicycle enthusiasts, students, musicians, painters and just about everything in between. They tell an interesting tale of the city– industrial boom, steady decline and industry fallout– all followed by a mixed story of how the place is re-inventing itself. There are IT and tech-related firms doing interesting things with mobile technology that are setting up shop because of the abundance of inexpensive office space or bands that use the shells of its old buildings as rehearsal space (have a listen to one local band here). Then there are young business owners that use Lodz as a place to try the things they’ve only dreamed about. All in all, the story is similar to Detroit, the exciting part comes in discovering the details and how each city is actually executing all these ideas. Where can we stand to gain from one another’s actions? What kinds of information sharing can occur to help each of us out? What do actions in Lodz tell us about possibility in Detroit? And visa versa?

Throughout the process of being here, we’ve been lucky enough to do a couple radio interviews and have even garnered some press coverage. You’ll need to have some serious Polish language skills to fully understand them, so here are the links with some brief descriptions:

The Lodz Gazette posted an article in the paper discussing the idea of the film here. It discusses some of the similarities and a partner organization we are working with here, Topografie.

That organization posted some information about the film and photos of the production on their site here. They are also holding an event this Friday which I will be presenting at to discuss what the film has revealed so far and where the two cities could stand to work together more.

Links with the radio interviews will come soon as they are available. Stay tuned!

DL! Kickstarter Campaign Initiated for Documentary Film

So, it’s official, we just launched the Kickstarter campaign to begin the funding process for the new documentary we begin filming at the end of May in Poland.

Poland!? Whaaat?!

So, this town outside of Warsaw called Lodz (pronounced “Woodge”) has suffered a post-industrial fate very similar to Detroit’s. Detroit was once the largest auto manufacturer and Lodz was once one of Europe’s largest textile manufacturers. When the Soviet Union dismantled, Russia stopped buying textiles from Poland. The industry collapsed and Lodz felt the effect– factories and housing tenements went vacant, the city center began to decay and people started moving to the peripheral areas of town. Sounds similar to Detroit, right?

So the idea is to capture the actions of people in Lodz and Detroit and what they are doing to re-define the way their city operates. By telling all these hopeful stories that provides solutions, we hope to use the film as a tool to create dialog around what it is that post-industrial cities all over the world can do to re-define themselves. Something that is very important.

We have initiated a Kickstarter campaign to finance a part of the production, and would really appreciate any help you can lend– even if that doesn’t involve throwing some money in, telling your friends and family is a big part of it, too! Check out the video we made as part of the Kickstarter entry that gives some more context and photos of Lodz to give a sense of exactly what we are talking about.

So, go ahead, head on over to the Kickstarter page and throw a buck or eighty in the jar– 29 days to go to raise $10,000!