July 3, 2012 – Detroit je t’aime Kickstarter Campaign
An interactive documentary by two French women on Detroit’s DIY spirit.
We’re all Detroiters. That’s what Nora Mandray (director/producer) and Hélène Bienvenu (co- producer) believe. They’re a duo of French filmmakers. Together they moved to Detroit one year ago and they instantly fell in love with the city. They started DETROITJETAIME.COM — a transmedia project that includes a blog and that will ultimately feature an interactive documentary film and an app.
The film tells three interwoven stories about the future of shared resources and community-building in our post-industrial era:
1) Fender Bender, a female and LGBT bike shop, empowers its members through bike mechanics; this Summer they’re kicking off the first bicycle lending library in the “Motor City.”
2) An urban farmer fights for racial justice in Detroit’s food system, questioning white supremacy in a city that’s +80% Black.
3) In Detroit’s most polluted zip code, an entire neighborhood is threatened to disappear under the nearby factory’ expansion — their last resort: create their own media to inform the world of their dangerous situation.
Nora and Hélène believe that Detroit can be a model for other cities to follow. “At a time of economic crisis, there’s no other place to look than Detroit. Detroiters have this urge to build the society of tomorrow – a more inclusive and sustainable one – based on social, racial, food, environmental and digital justice.” says Nora, the director.
As an interactive film, DETROITJETAIME.COM aims at inspiring its viewers to take action. At any point of the story, a DIY Toolbox will feature guidelines for viewers to create their own DIY projects (from basic bike repairs to LED light projects, and urban farming.)
DETROITJETAIME.COM grew as a response to the overwhelming interest that the Detroit stories have gathered oversees. This project bridges Detroit and Europe by calling for people from both sides to submit personal stories and share ideas about creating a more sustainable future.Right now “the two Frenchies” are community-in-residence fellows at the Green Garage, where they keep on developing DETROITJETAIME.COM. “It was very important for us be part of the Detroit communities we’re documenting. There’s been many great documentaries recently done on the city. But to us nobody has offered a deep look on the work done at the grassroots level yet.” says Hélène, co-producer. “During our time in the city, we’ve volunteered in many urban farms, taken part in as many workshops, shared dinners, drinks, conversations, moments… that’s how we not only built trust with Detroiters, but also became Detroiters ourselves!” says Nora, the film director.
Well aware of Detroit’s French roots, Nora and Hélène were able to get their project off the ground thanks to a new media development grant from the French Film Institute last year. In order to remain independent and involve the community, Nora and Hélène are now crowdfunding on Kickstarter until July 30th, 2012. In order to finish their film production, they’re looking to raise $25,000 in 30 days. In its first day, their project was selected as a Staff Pick by Kickstarter. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/detroitjetaime/detroit-je-taime
The interactive documentary is set to be released and broadcast online by January 2013.
WHAT’S AN INTERACTIVE DOCUMENTARY?
It’s a new storytelling genre, where the audience is active. You can make your own story as you
explore the film, submit comments — and thus become part of the film itself. DETROITJETAIME.COM is as much about creating an immersive experience as it’s about building community.
Nora (director/producer) and Hélène (co-producer) met while in school at the Institute of Political Science in Paris. They’re both fluent in Polish and familiar with post- industrial landscapes.
Nora’s a Fulbright scholar and she holds an MFA from UCLA film school. This year she got selected at the Berlin Film Festival as an “emerging talent.”
Hélène’s based in Hungary and she works as a foreign correspondent for the daily French newspaper La Croix.