Would you find Detroit so charmingly rustic and romantically run-down if you lived there?


Detroit is an iconic American city that once gave the middle class everything they wanted. Now, not so much. This city, maybe more than any other, has been brought to near bankruptcy and is suffering. The facts are dismal. The population is down by 25% because 50% of the manufacturing jobs are gone.

All this, yet we still love Detroit. People sing about it. People draw on it for inspiration.

A good amount of famous faces come from Detroit, too.

Famous People from Detroit

  • Anna Sui
  • Kristen Bell
  • Curtis Armstrong
  • Selma Blair
  • Tim Allen
  • The Supremes
  • James Earl Jones
  • Casey Kasem
  • Mitch Albom
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Alice Cooper
  • Iggy Pop
  • Joyce Carol Oates

Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady are ready to share their documentary, Detropia, with you. As an added bonus, Stanley Tucci is in on the deal, too.

Detropia (PBS) Synopsis

Detroit was the birthplace of the middle class, an industrial utopia where anyone who worked hard enough could experience the American Dream. Today, Detroit is on the brink of bankruptcy. In the past ten years, this iconic Midwestern city has lost 25 percent of its population and 50 percent of its manufacturing jobs. Local officials are in the midst of the most dramatic “downsizing” of an American city ever seen: demolishing thousands of homes, re-consolidating massive tracts of excess land, cutting basic services, and even encouraging Detroiters in the most marginal neighborhoods to move. Detroiters who have stuck with the city are at the breaking point. Despite these desperate conditions, there is still an allure to Detroit and artists, dreamers and curious outsiders flock to the city in search of inspiration and opportunity. (Press Release)

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. (- by Caroline Libresco)

Produced and directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (12th & Delaware, Jesus Camp), Detropia premieres on Independent Lens, hosted by Stanley Tucci, on Monday, May 27, 2013 at 10 PM ET (check local listings).