'Detropia' sees Detroit as a reflection of the U.S.


  • Photo 1 of 9

    A still from the film “Detropia.”

    - Photo by Tony Hardmon

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    Tommy Stephens, owner of the Raven Lounge in Detroit, is prominently featured in the film.

    - Photo by Tony Hardmon

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    Still image of a closed auto parts store in the city of Detroit.

    - Photo by Tony Hardmon

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    A member of the "Clean Up Crew" walks away from a salvage site. In "Detropia" the "Clean Up Crew" are a group of young Detroit natives who salvage old shops for copper and other metal.

    - Photo by Tony Hardmon

  • Photo 5 of 9

    A front image of the old Detroit Central train station.

    - Photo by Tony Hardmon

  • Photo 6 of 9

    Detroit video blogger Crystal Starr looks out the window of an old, abandoned home in the city.

    - Photo by Wolfgang Held

  • Photo 7 of 9

    Still image from "Detropia."

    - Photo by Craig Atkinson

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    Two artists using the city as inspiration for their photography.

    - Photo by Tony Hardmon

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    A still image of Downtown Detroit in the evening.

    - Photo by Craig Atkinson

It’s no secret that Detroit has its problems. Economic troubles and the fall of the auto industry loom over the city. 

The new film “Detropia” by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing chronicles the frustration of the city and how what is happening in Detroit is a reflection of the rest of the United States. The film describes the degradation of the city, the newcomers moving into the area, and the people that stayed after the economic downturn.

"Things were really bellying out in the city and I kept wondering why and what happened here? I thought that maybe there was a film to be made here" Ewing said. "So we went in sort of blindly and moved to Detroit with our crew. We waited for the city to speak to us and see what story it would tell us and I think we found something compelling."

Heidi Ewing and Tommy Stephens discuss the film and its portrayal of the city. Stephens is owner of the Raven Blues Lounge in Detroit and is profiled in the film. Throughout the movie, Stephens deals with trying to wade through the changes happening in the city and how he can use them to make his business prosper.

The film is set to make its theatrical release on Sept. 7.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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