There are always two sides to any story. According to first time Detroit filmmaker Anthony Brogdon, the positive side of what is happening here isn’t getting enough recognition. So, he has made a documentary, “The Great Detroit: It Was, It Is, It Will Be.”
While he isn’t ignoring all of the other challenges we face in the area, he takes umbrage with the way we have been portrayed in the local, regional and national traditional media and the way we think about our fair city.
Disappointed by the negatives coming out of the network news magazine shows, he decided to capture the rest of the story by finding and talking to people with another view. “In television and news print reports, Detroit appears to be a symbol for all that is bad with urban America,” says Brogdon. “I remember the national news reports not too long ago that highlighted how one man was selling cooked raccoons out of his home. I understand people have to make a living, but that didn’t give the best impression of the city – that’s not the Detroit I know.”
An entrepreneur for more than 30 years, this is his first leap into filmmaking. He did produce a stage play about the power of mentorship called “Foot Soldiers” five years ago, but nothing of the magnitude of this project. With 40 interviews, multiple locations and funding the whole thing out of his pocket, it has taken more than 14 months for it all to come together. But, that hasn’t stopped him or slowed him down.
Growing up in Detroit, he is an unapologetic city supporter that has always had a passion for seeing the positive in life and in the city. As he talked to other friends and people he would meet in the city, he found he wasn’t alone in his frustration with how the city was being portrayed. He also wasn’t the only one that could see the good in the middle of what was being reported.
“I remember talking with people the network producers interviewed and they all commented they would love to see a story that shows the real Detroit – that got me going with this project,” he added.
“I grew up in and still believe in Detroit,” says Tony Stovall, owner of Hot Sam’s Quality Clothes – in business since 1921. “I went from working here in 1974 to buying the store in 1994 – there’s no place in the world like Detroit.”
Brogdon hired a local production crew – a young man with a similar passion for the city and the skills to get the job done on the production side. Hugh Hatten, who has camera, lighting and sound equipment, was willing to help. Now, more than a year later, the film is nearly complete. He hopes to release the DVD in March.
The goal of the film is simple, according to the budding moviemaker – he wants to prove that Detroit has a great history, to showcase its breathtaking landscape and highlight the many Detroiters who have a positive attitude about the city.
Stovall of Hot Sam’s probably said it beat, “If you don’t like the story that’s being told about Detroit, tell your own.”
This isn’t a big budget project by any means and up to this point, the costs have all come from Brogdon himself. He is hoping to secure funds to complete the project through crowd sourcing site IndieGoGo. Anyone interested in supporting the project can do so by visiting his funding page there or by visiting his company’s website.