Detroit Narrative Agency (DNA) incubates quality and compelling stories that shift the dominant narratives about Detroit towards liberation and justice, in collaboration with an ecosystem of community members, storytellers, media makers and organizers. DNA curated this Freep Film Festival-partnered program of short documentaries by Detroit area filmmakers, sharing seven glimpses into movement-forward, multi-dimensional stories about community, culture and legacy. More info at alliedmedia.org/dna.
“Origins: Kin”: “In Ghana, family is everything” says asante as he pulls into his grandparents’ house in Mampong, Ghana for the first time in 12 years. “Origins: Kin” follows Michigan-based musician asante’s return to Ghana to reconnect with his relatives, and shares his choice to pursue music as a profession. “Origins” was created in tandem with asante’s Afrobeat music release “sleek boy.” Directed by Corey Johnson & asante.
“Take Me Home”: A home foreclosure crisis has gripped Detroit for over a decade. In this time, inflated property taxes have caused more than 100,000 working families to lose their homes. The last time Americans experienced anything near this alarming rate of foreclosure was during the Great Depression. While headlines read of the so-called rebirth of Motor City, many Detroit neighborhoods have been devastated with African-American communities hit hardest of all. “Take Me Home” follows one family as they fight to save their home, and struggle to keep their neighborhoods and communities from being lost. Directed by Orlando Ford. Produced by John Sloan.
“The Sinkhole”: “The Sinkhole” explores the normalization of deportation and failing infrastructure, by contrasting a Michigan Chaldean man’s experience in immigration detention, to the sudden appearance of a sinkhole in southeast Michigan. (Work-in-progress). Directed and Produced by Danya Abt. Produced by Zachary Halberd.
“Sidelots”: “Sidelots” is a love story of black land reclamation told in ritual between Detroit, Alabama and Kenya. It follows one family on Detroit’s East Side as their story of urban farming unfolds into a spiritual journey of discovery, loss and re-indigenization. By digging up familial and land roots across the diaspora, “Sidelots” illuminates all that is sacred in the land and encourages a radical reconsideration of how we view the earth immediately below our feet. Directed by Atieno Nyar Kasagam. Produced by Natasha Tamate Weiss.
“Dangerous Times: Rebellious Responses”: The Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s was a religious and political campaign — driven by over 500 congregations across 11 denominations in the United States — to provide safe-haven for Central American refugees fleeing civil conflict. “Dangerous Times” traces its rise in Detroit through the personal accounts of Esther Gálvez, a Latinx Sanctuary advocate, and Sihanouk Mariona, whose family was amongst the most visible Salvadorian exiles in the US. Directed by Alicia Diaz. Produced by Consuela López with Karen Cárdenas.
“Sugar Law Saturday”: For 25 years, the Sugar Law Center in Detroit has fought for the rights of low-income communities at no cost to their clients. “Sugar Law Saturday” explores the lives of the organization’s dedicated attorneys and the impact of their groundbreaking cases. Directed by Kate Levy.
“Lyricist Society”: “Lyricist Society” looks at an alternative music program at Frederick Douglass High School in Detroit. Created by teacher Quan Neloms, the program aims to give students a creative voice and the ability to change the narrative of how their community is perceived. This short documentary won a 2018 Michigan Regional Emmy. Directed by Jeremy Brockman.
Total program runs about 3 hours with talk back.