DETROPIA, Trailer from Loki Films on Vimeo.

A new film from the makers of “Jesus Camp”
“Of all the Sundance films tackling the gap between the richest 1% and the rest of the nation, the documentary “Detropia” stands out for how it encapsulates the causes and potential solutions.”

“…a moving and powerful micro-portrait of a hurting nation…”

“The defeat of the middle class that has comprised the last decade of Detroit’s history. That painful story and its meaning for the rest of America is the subject of Detropia, an important, heartbreaking, and yet still occasionally hilarious documentary.”

“It’s elegiac, beautiful and quietly devastating.”

“…Detropia succeeds in stoking our concern for a place most Americans have never visited.”


Detroit’s story has encapsulated the iconic narrative of America over the last century— the Great Migration of African Americans escaping Jim Crow; the rise of manufacturing and the middle class; the love affair with automobiles; the flowering of the American dream; and now . . . the collapse of the economy and the fading American mythos.
With its vivid, painterly palette and haunting score, DETROPIA sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. As houses are demolished by the thousands, automobile-company wages plummet, institutions crumble, and tourists gawk at the “charming decay,” the film’s vibrant, gutsy characters glow and erupt like flames from the ashes. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance. Their grit and pluck embody the spirit of the Motor City as it struggles to survive postindustrial America and begins to envision a radically different future. – -Caroline Libresco, 2010 Sundance Film Festival Senior Programmer
The woes of Detroit are emblematic of the collapse of the U.S. manufacturing base. Is the Midwestern icon actually a canary in the American coal mine? DETROPIA is a cinematic tapestry of
HEIDI EWING Director/Producer Heidi Ewing was born and raised in the Detroit area around a family manufacturing business. DETROPIA is her fourth feature length documentary film and is close to her heart. She and her directing partner Rachel Grady are best known for directing Jesus Camp, a searing look at the Christian right through the eyes of children. The film was nominated for the 2007 Academy Award for Documentary Feature. The duo made their feature doc debut with The Boys of Baraka in 2005., a touching movie that follows inner city boys to a boarding school in rural Kenya. The film was nominated for an Emmy and aired on POV. The directing team recently collaborated with other high profile nonfiction filmmakers for the 2009 omnibus documentary film Freakonomics: The Movie, based on the best-selling book. Their controversial 12th & Delaware, a searing portrait of the battle between a crisis pregnancy center and an abortion clinic, debuted at Sundance in 2010, won a Peabody Award and aired on HBO.
RACHEL GRADY Director/Producer A private investigator turned filmmaker, Rachel Grady has produced and directed a wide variety of documentaries for HBO, PBS, The Discovery Channel, MTV and A&E. She and her directing partner Heidi Ewing co-directed The Boys of Baraka, the critically acclaimed documentary feature won a 2006 NAACP Image Award and was nominated for an Emmy. Her feature documentary, Jesus Camp, also co-directed with Ewing, chronicles the Evangelical movement through the eyes of children. The film was nominated for an Academy Award. In 2007 Grady and Ewing also collaborated with several high profile nonfiction filmmakers for the omnibus documentary film Freakonomics: The Movie, based on the best-selling book. Grady’s last documentary, 12th & Delaware, co-directed with Ewing and winner of a Peabody Award, is a searing portrait of a street corner in Fort Pierce, Florida, where a pro-life crisis pregnancy center and an abortion clinic are locked in battle.