After the Factory (2012) – Preview

The project initiated by Philip Lauri in 2009 to try to bring together creative and entrepreneurial communities in Detroit to develop ways of renewing and reinvigorating Detroit's urban area.

Dir:- Philip Lauri

DOP:- Steven Craig Oliver

Producer(s):- Andrew Jenson, Michał Gruda, Philip Lauri, Steven Craig Oliver

This is a new documentary film that is set to make its premiere at The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Film Theatre on Thursday, February 2nd 2012 at 7pm. It is directed by artist Philip Lauri, the founder of the self-proclaimed ‘social brand’ Detroit Lives!, which has attempted to bring together creative and entrepreneurial interests, with the main goal of urban renewal and regeneration: ‘in a way that re-constructs notions of identity in Detroit while promoting engaged citizenship and social change’.

The film would appear to act as part social-history and part manifesto and engages with two distinct communities. The main focus of the film is a look at Detroit as it gets back on its feet after the rapid decline of the automobile industry that was for so long synonymous with the city. As a means of examining Detroit’s struggles and achievements the film then also looks at the Polish city of Łódź, which has suffered a similar decline in its textile industry during the last two decades of the twentieth century.

Michal Sobolewski and Anna Marczyk: two of Łódź's cultural entrepreneurs who opened the cafe and music venue Warzywa i Owoce (Vegetables and Fruit) in the centre of the city. They feature in the documentary. Photo (c) Marcin Stępień (Agencja Gazeta)

I have had my own experiences of Łódź as a city over the last decade and have been frequently impressed by the way that a city, which is situated far too close to Warszawa for comfort, has managed to begin to reinvent itself in the 21st century as an ‘authentic’ urban space, in which new and innovative ideas for the arts, business and design can take place. The city appears to be really moving out from the shadow of industrial decline and its bigger, noisier neighbour, to find a place for itself as a forward-thinking ‘e-City’ at the very centre of Europe. Łódź, like Detroit, still has a long way to go, but it is exciting to see the kind of youthful energy that both of these compelling urban landscapes are beginning to channel.

Philip Lauri the founder of Detroit Lives!

This film is also further evidence of the impressive potential in the Kickstarter funding model to make such insightful, but non-obviously-commercial cinematic projects possible. Take a look at the trailer from the film website here and lend your support to this movie by trying to encourage interest in screening it in your local art house cinema or cultural centre.