The director of CLEANFLIX explores post-industrial Detroit through the stories of three men who call the Motor City home.
No American city has seen the impact of the Great Recession moreso than Detroit. It was one of the main destinations for the millions of African-Americans who traveled from the South during the Great Migration, lured by the automotive and manufacturing industries which helped foster an African American middle class. As these industries gave way to cheaper resources outside the US in recent decades, the city has been on the decline, exacerbated by the sharp economic downturn of the past five years. Director Andrew James uses the stories of three African American men – notably from different generations, with ages ranging from 21-63 years old – to tell the story of the city in microcosm. Taking a ground level approach, James reveals their personal struggles to survive and to thrive in their city despite its difficult realities.
Back in September 2010, the filmmakers successfully used Kickstarter to raise part of their production financing, and now have a week and a half to go in their current Kickstarter campaign for post-production financing. They still need to raise just over $6000 to make their $20000 goal, so there’s still time to help if you can. Those interested in keeping updated on the film may also check out their website.
The story of Detroit is, in itself, fascinating, enveloping socioeconomic, racial, and political history all at once. While there have been excellent recent documentaries about the city, like DETROPIA, I’m intrigued by the hyper-focused approach James is taking with this project by following only three subjects. That they represent three distinctive generations suggests the approximation of an almost longitudinal perspective that should yield curious insight into the experience of living in Detroit in the past, present, and future.