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The Great Detroit documentary shines a positive light on the city


Anthony Brogdon loves Detroit and his documentary shows it.

You may or may not have seen his film, The Great Detroit, It Was-It Is-It Will Be, but odds are either you or one of your friends has heard about.

Anthony Brogdon

Anthony Brogdon

“The premise of the film is the examine Detroit from a positive perspective,” Brogdon says. “It’s our contention that Detroit gets talked about in terms of its decline in population, abandoned building and high crime but there’s another side to the story.

“We hope to display content on Detroit’s rich history and beautiful landscape with inspiring commentary and highlighting little known facts so people will see this beloved city in another light.”

51NV5+CVAvLBrogdon says the film stars people who are making it happen and includes 55 interviewees. It touches on how and why Detroit was founded, the influx of immigrants who make up the cultural mix, many Detroit-based companies that dominated their markets, the history of Motown as well as techno music, Eastern Market, Pewabic Pottery, the Parade company and so many others.

It also highlights Henry Ford’s first office and plant, Detroit’s puppet museum and theater, the second oldest church in America, where Motown recorded many of its hits, the training rink for many former boxing champs, the inside of a 100-year-old hat store, the Detroit River and the hydroplane races, a manmade island and much more.

There’s a segment on various neighborhoods like Indian Village where Bob Cosgrove talks about the many architects who designed homes in that district. It also looks at homes in Boston Edison and Palmer Woods as well as the growth in residential development in Midtown. It shows off Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood, and the multi-cultural identify that is Southwest Detroit.

You can see the film beginning Friday, October 9, when the University of Michigan Detroit Center kicks off its inaugural Friday Fall Film Series (F3S) with this year’s theme, “My Detroit.” The focus for the 2015 series is to examine, explore and challenge what Detroit means to people as individuals and as part of a larger community.

Brogdon received the Angelo Henderson Community Service Award from ARISE Detroit! during its 9th annual Neighborhoods Day earlier this month. Back in 2012, he was named Person of the Week by WXYZ’s Detroit 2020 because his goal reflected the show’s – unify. inspire. act.  

The Great Detroit, It Was-It Is-It Will Be was released in April 2014 and has been shown at various venues including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Historical Museum, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Main Art Theatre, Senate Theater, Farmington Civic Theatre, Oakland University and various libraries in Ferndale, Hamtramck, Detroit and Dearborn. There are plans for showings at Wayne State University, Madonna College, and nationally in Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Washington, DC., Brogdon says.

The DVD is available on Amazon and is 74 minute long. For a video clip or more information go to

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4 comments on “The Great Detroit documentary shines a positive light on the city

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