About this project
WHAT IS STREET FIGHTING MAN?
A feature-length ensemble documentary featuring stories of survival and community action on Detroit's East side.
WHAT IS THIS VIDEO?
An early sneak peak of the film, featuring one of our main subjects, James "Jack Rabbit" Jackson.
CAN I EMBED THIS VIDEO ON MY WEBSITE OR BLOG?
Yes! Please do. Just follow this link: http://www.vimeo.com/13442176
A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON DETROIT:
Detroit Michigan has been decimated by the economic crisis. With the highest unemployment rate in the country, Motor City is dying, one neighborhood at a time. Not only are foreclosed homes boarded up and empty, so too are factories, warehouses, apartment complexes, and even police stations. Neighborhoods and communities with little resources have been left to fend for themselves as violent crime, drugs, vandalism, poverty, and hopelessness seep into the brick, steel, and concrete. At night, gangs and junkies literally take over, roaming the streets in search of drugs and money. According to one Detroit resident, "it's like Omega Man."
HOW WE ENVISION THE FILM:
Instead of focusing on the broader question of why Detroit is suffering, "Street Fighting Man" will hone in on the specific struggles of individuals as they fight for the future of their community. One man who personifies the day-to-day struggles of the East Jefferson community is James "Jack Rabbit" Jackson, a retired cop who's lived in the Chalmers neighborhood on the east side of Detroit for most of his life. With the recent closure of the local police station, Jack Rabbit has begun to fight back.
Armed with a video camera (and a firearm when necessary) Jack Rabbit cruises the streets of East Jefferson, intimidating criminals, recording evidence, and making his presence known. He's a community activist, a post-modern sheriff, and according to some, a "socially conscious vigilante." Jack Rabbit is a complex and interesting figure. He's a father, a mentor, a boyfriend, a tow-truck driver, and a deeply committed member of the community who spends 24 hours of every day in the service of his neighborhood. Every weekend, he and his partner, Keith Hines, hit the streets to protect community interests. They know who the criminals are, where they live, where they drink, and where they do business. Amazingly, Jack Rabbit and Keith have prevented all kinds of burglary, violent crime, and vandalism over the past few years. When we were in Detroit, we had the opportunity to accompany Jack and Keith on one of their patrols.
"Street Fighting Man" will also follow several other subjects in the community as they live and work day-to-day. Each character will bring a unique perspective to the story and provide different insights into the landscape, the problems, and the possible solutions. In fact, we have made contact with several people who we are interested in participating in the project, including local business owners, pastors, homeless teenagers, drug dealers, and community activists.
Our goal as filmmakers is to paint a multilayered mosaic of this fluctuating landscape using real people and real stories. Each character will inform the next, providing both interesting and challenging juxtaposition. This will help to clearly outline the problems, complicate the solutions, and strengthen the story. In essence, the film will be more truthful, more organic, and more real if the story is told by the subjects who are living it.
The film will seamlessly weave from character to character as they make phone calls, attend meetings, spend time with their children, plant vegetables, cook, shop, work, participate in community activities, patrol streets, and debate the future of their neighborhoods with friends and loved ones. By telling the stories of several different people who share varying perspectives, "Street Fighting Man" will paint a complex portrait of a struggling community in transition.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP:
"Street Fighting Man" will serve as an important historical record of this particularly volatile period in Detroit's history, making this film significant from a cultural, political, and anthropological standpoint. It is our hope that the film will create greater awareness and put pressure on the local government to provide public services to its citizens. Additionally, we aim to inspire, educate, and entertain. "Street Fighting Man" is a film about real people in a real place, dealing with real problems. This is a story that needs to be told and you can be a part of this empowering and important documentary.
HOW YOUR MONEY WILL BE SPENT:
Our goal of $6,500 is for preliminary expenses. This initial sum will help us get back to Detroit to film more footage as well as rent and/or purchase some of the equipment that we need for the shoot. The footage will be used to create a longer preview for large-sum investors. The funds will also pay for all the great rewards that we are offering for those who decide to donate.
The idea for this film originally came from a great article in the Metro Times by Detroit Blogger John, called "Street Fightin' Man." He has graciously given us his permission to use the title of his article as the working title of our film. He's a great writer and I encourage everyone to read his work over at www.detroitblog.org.
James "Jack Rabbit" Jackson has also been featured in the L.A. Times:
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