7PM WE ARE NOT GHOSTS Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin (USA, 2012) 52 minutes and 30 seconds. English. Genre: documentary feature.
Tuesday, April 17 at 7:00 p.m. $8 general, $5 Youth and Senior Citizens.
Post screening discussion with filmmakers Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin
Fifty years ago Detroit was booming, with two million hard working people living the American Dream. Then the auto industry fell on hard times and so did Detroit. Many people moved out of the city and whole neighborhoods turned into wastelands. But some have a vision for a new Detroit, as a human scaled city for a post industrial world. And they are starting to make it real. As spoken word artist Jessica Care Moore puts it in We Are Not Ghosts, "Somebody's gotta tell them, that we are not ghosts, that we are in this city and we are alive!" Longtime Detroit activist and philosopher, Grace Lee Boggs, is one inspiration for many of these efforts. As she states in the film, "Someone looks at a vacant lot and says, 'I'm going to grow food on that.' Somebody says, 'we have to talk to our neighbors more, we have to bring the neighbor back into the hood.' That is a profoundly philosophical approach."
In the mid 20th century the Great Migration brought tens of thousands of African Americans and poor whites to Detroit to work in the auto industry. After decades of white flight, now Detroit is 80% African American. Neighborhood block clubs are trying to come together to figure out how to deal with the foreclosure crisis that has hit hard in Detroit.
In the 140 square miles of Detroit there is not one full service supermarket. "We have vast amounts of land that other cities simply don't have," says Malik Yakini of D-Town Farm, "and so we have this opportunity to grow massive amounts of food." Local gardens enlist the energy of young people and draw communities together, according to the organizer of one community garden, Myrtle Thompson Curtis.
New community based businesses are revitalizing Detroit. Parent and teacher run schools promote place based education where students and community join forces to make things better. And Peace Zones for Life works to reduce violence and monitor police.
"I think the 20th century is a century of expanding materialism, of expanding conflicts, of expanding consumerism. And we're only beginning to understand that in the course of all of this expansion, we have lost our souls. And this is a great opportunity to begin to see how much we have been damaged by our affluence, how much in our pursuit of affluence we have exploited the earth, exploited other peoples, damaged ourselves." Grace Lee Boggs
In We Are Not Ghosts, we see Detroiters remaking themselves and their city, with vision and spirit not usually included in mass media reports that focus only on the city's problems. "So don't write eulogies for Detroit," says Jessica Care Moore, "no uninspired folk song of gloom. Some of us are coming home to show the world, how we make the planet move."
About the producers: Seasoned filmmakers Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young produced We Are Not Ghosts. Other recent films include Good Food, broadcast nationally on PBS in 2010, Setting the Stage, featured at the 2011 United Nations Association Film Festival, and in production, Shift Change: Putting Democracy to Work about worker owned businesses in the U.S. and Mondragon, Spain.
Review: We Are Not Ghosts manages to capture a spirit in Detroit that most don't even see. In the voices, work and imagination of Detroiters a new world is taking shape." Sharon Howell, Professor of Communication, Oakland University, and columnist, Michigan Citizen
Online preview: http://vimeo.com/39355493, More info: http://www.movingimages.org/page22.html
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