Looking back … and forward to the Detroit movie

Sonya Reese, photo by Noah Stephens

“We lost a lot of businesses and homes. [The riots] had a negative impact on the black race.”
– Fiat Chrysler Automobiles employee Sonya Reese

I just finished an incredibly rewarding week volunteering for the Traverse City Film Festival. One of the many films that I did not see is Detroit by Mark Boal & Katherine Bigelow that opens tomorrow (Aug 4). The trailer (below) looks amazing, and Bigelow is still the only woman to win an Oscar for Best Director.

Photographer Noah Stephens has been featured before for his work in the People of Detroit series. He was hired by the film to document the people and landscape as they are 50 years after the Detroit riots of 1967.

The photo shows Fiat Chrysler Automobiles employee Sonya Reese. Sonya and her daughter Ivy were interviewed and photographed in Gordon Playground. The playground was built on the site of the blind pig where the 1967 riot began. The park was remodeled in June 2017. The park is located on the precipice of prosperity. To the east are the mansions of the beautiful Boston-Edison historic district. To the west is the Dexter Bar.

More photos at The People of Detroit: 50 Years Later and see more of Noah’s work (and hire him)at noahstephens.com.

Michigan Movie Moment: Christopher Lloyd, Mickey Matson and the City of Milwaukee

Christopher Lloyd on the City of Milwaukee

Christopher Lloyd on the City of Milwaukee, photo courtesy Mickey Matson/10 West

While Michigan hasn’t become the movie mecca that was envisioned when the state created its film incentive – in large part because it was abruptly gutted – movies are still being made here. Pirate’s Code: The Adventures of Mickey Matson, was filmed in Manistee and Muskegon and premiers October 16 at the Grand Rapids Public Museum to kick off their 160th year. If you click that link, you can check out the movie trailer! It’s opening weekend of their new exhibition “Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship.”

Here’s a production skill showing Christopher Lloyd, one of the film’s stars, on the pilot deck of the SS City of Milwaukee, a car ferry that is now a museum in Manistee that plays a big role in the film.

View the photo bigger and see more and learn more about the movie at the Mickey Matson Facebook page.

PS: Every Friday & Saturday night in October, the City of Milwaukee does a really cool haunted Ghost Ship that’s a blast!

Division: The Movie seeking a little Kickstarter love

division the movie

Location Scouting, photo by Division: The Movie

DIVISION is planned to be the first feature-length film entirely filtered through Instagram. The story is inspired by local folklore from Traverse City and the nearby Old Mission Peninsula and begins when a young man embarks on a journey to cure his girlfriend’s writer’s block. Chaos ensues, sending the couple into questioning what is real and what isn’t. The real truth, or at least part of it, has been recorded by the couple and their friends.

As for processing the entire film through the popular photo-sharing site Instagram, Producer Cat Muncey explains their motivation:

Back when the photo app rolled out video capabilities in June, I got the idea to do a feature through it. First, it was unconquered territory and hadn’t been done before. Second, I thought it would be an interesting way to present a character’s story. Most everything people share through social media is self-edited, so you only see what they want you to view. There’s more to everyone’s story than what they are willing to share, and I think the use of social media makes is a compelling element within a suspense movie.

There’s been a lot of interest in the film locally. We are featuring small businesses and their goods throughout the film and focusing on sourcing local talent. It’s been kind of neat running into people around town talking about the project or recognizing me from our Kickstarter or social media. We’ve also gotten some nice media coverage around town and even on digitaltrends.com.

Really, the biggest aim of this project was to create a community experience. We are still looking for additional extras and filling in the blanks with some locations and we would love to have additional support from local people. If anyone is interested, they can find out more at our Facebook page or contact me.

They have just 3 days left to raise $3000 and complete their Kickstarter goal. Head over to Kickstarter to learn more about the project, see their video appeal, learn more about the Instagram processing and help them out!

More Michigan movies on Michigan in Pictures.