About this program

Whether we’re arguing over media bias, fighting for a favorite politician, or battling over social injustices, it often feels as if America – indeed the world – is a nearly constant state of conflict. And it seems the friction has only risen in recent years. In their own ways, each of these shorts explore how we’ve reached a place of strife and disunity, and what it feels like to live amidst the tumult.

AFTER THE FILMS: Nancy Kaffer, Free Press editorial page editor, talks with the filmmakers.

The program features the following short films:

Jade Helm

‘Jade Helm’

In 2015, the U.S. military conducted routine training across the American Southwest. But were these military exercises actually cover for something more sinister? Built on deep suspicions of the government and the mainstream media, a fearful backlash erupted in the Texas heartland, and the exercises, called Jade Helm 15, became a national news story — with a surprise ending that is still playing out today. Directed by Debi Cornwall. (2022)

Detroit Will Breathe

‘Detroit Will Breathe’

Produced in connection with the Detroit Will Breathe organization’s lawsuit against the City of Detroit, the film captures George Floyd-inspired protests of summer 2020, weaving together footage from police body cameras, protesters and bystanders, as well as slow-moving portraits of key protestors. The film provides an unprecedented look into the tactics of the Detroit Police, reveals shocking conversations between police officers, and offers a poignant look into what it means to be part of an integrated movement fighting for Black lives. Directed by Detroit/NYC-based filmmaker Kate Levy.

You've Been Lied To

‘You Have Been Lied To’

At a Warren polling place on Election Day 2020, the dialogue (or lack thereof) amongst demonstrators reveals just how extreme our political divide has become. Directed by Detroit/Upstate New York-based filmmaker Mitch McCabe. (2023)

Liturgy of Anti-Tank Obstacles

‘Liturgy of Anti-Tank Obstacles’

Against a radio backdrop of news about the war, Ukrainian sculptors known for creating sublime statues of angels, spiritual figures and the like instead build anti-tank obstacles to block the advancement of Russian troops. Directed by Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk. (2022)


2 p.m. Sun., April 30, Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts