In Detroit, the most segregated American city, vast stretches of boarded-up storefronts and weed-choked lots tell of decades of white and middle-class black flight. In the last 60 years, Detroit has lost more than half its residents, falling from a zenith of two million in the fifties during its heyday as an automotive mecca to a population of 700,000. After decades of factory layoffs, amid aftershocks of the current economic crisis, more than a third of Detroit’s remaining population and nearly half of its children live below the poverty line. Particularly hard hit are Detroit’s men, with an unemployment rate hovering near 50% and more than a third incarcerated or on parole. Not surprisingly, Detroit, which came in first on Forbes magazine’s “Miserable Cities Index” last year, is viewed as the national reference point for all that has gone wrong in the urban landscapes of America.
But abandonment and decay are not the only stories in the poorest, most dramatically shrinking major American city. Detroit is also a tale of ingenuity and reinvention born of necessity. MEN AT WORK: VOICES FROM DETROIT'S UNDERGROUND ECONOMY profiles some of the original and creative individuals who are finding ways to survive in a time of turmoil. This is the story of how, in an economic climate apparently designed to ensure their failure, people find work on their own terms, get food and shelter, raise their children—often making up the means to do so as they go along.
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A documentary feature that I was hired to direct and edit profiling a young man's journey of crime, punishment and redemption.
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Produced for THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR REPORTS, this 30 minute news-documentary profiles the state of race relations in Zimbabwe in the years immediately following the fall of colonial rule. Includes interviews with President Robert Mugabe and former Prime Minister Ian Smith.
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The rise and fall of Park Forest, Illinois-- one of America's first planned communities and a model of suburban utopia.
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Inspired by the early 19th century poetry of William Blake, THE FORGIVING EARTH documents the voices of Detroit's 21st century urban farmers as they toil, against all odds, to transform a bankrupt city of "dark Satanic Mills" into a reborn "green and pleasant Land." Each garden tells a singular story of personal challenge-- of drug abuse, incarceration, racism, injustice, poverty and neglect. Ultimately the voices converge in a rising chorus of private dreams and public outrage.