March 18, 2012 – Detroit je t’aime
As I’ve said before, I’m not from Detroit. I had the opportunity to come here and from the moment I arrived, I fell in love with the city, the people, the sense of community. It’s a city unlike so many others that I’ve been to and there really isn’t a day that goes by without me finding something else to get excited over. I’m jealous of those who are born and raised, being able to say they’re natives to the city, but I’m also proud to be a part of a place that embodies so much heart.
When I heard about Detroit, je t’aime, I could immediately relate to the excitement of discovering the city just as the two filmmakers behind the project.
They met while doing their undergraduate degrees at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, where they shared a passion for the fascinating intricacies of the Polish language. They bonded in Cracow, Poland, during a Summer language program and became known as “the kokos.”
After their graduation, both fluent in Polish after a year in Poland, they decided to keep studying as a means of traveling.
After 6 months in Thailand, Helene moved to Hungary to work as a photojournalist and pursue her Hungarian studies. She has worked as a correspondent and travel-writer for French-speaking publications such as Elle Belgium or La Croix and wrote several travel-guides. Nora left for the U.S, to study filmmaking at UCLA as a Fulbright scholar. Before that, they spent some time filming in Paris, Liverpool, Budapest and Warsaw.
They last saw each other in July 2009 in Walbrzych, a small Silesian town in Poland, near the Czech and German borders. There they shot their first real documentary together.
For the past two years, they have been working together to make a film about urban utopia – a pet project of theirs ever since they set foot in the “post-communist” countries. In July 2009, Helene and Nora got a grant from the city of Paris for their ‘utopia around the world’ project, followed shortly thereafter by an Arthur K. Peters Memorial Travel Grant 2010. Finally, in April 2011, the two of them were awarded a development grant from the prestigious French Film Institute (Centre National de la Cinématographie) to write and direct a documentary about Detroit.
Detroit je t’aime is an excellent blog to follow as Helene and Nora make their way through the city for their project. In addition to their blog, they also create short videos. They created a great one about one of my favorite groups, Detroit Party Marching Band.