Three men, each a generation apart, struggle to build a future for themselves in post-industrial Detroit.
We did it! Thanks to you, we surpassed our goal of 20K! Our campaign is now over, but you can still help STREET FIGHTING MAN by visiting our official website and clicking on "support."
For detailed updates and the ability to connect with the filmmakers and other fans/supporters of STREET FIGHTING MAN, please "like" the film on Facebook. Its the easiest way to stay in touch!
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
"Beautiful, hopeful, and totally real."
- Celeste Headlee, WNYC's The Takeaway
“It looks like ‘Street Fighting Man’ is going to be a powerful, beautifully shot piece of work that gracefully combines a socially relevant issue with some great, cinematic filmmaking.”
- Jay Cheel, Director of Beauty Day & Founder of The Documentary Blog
“Does not scrub away any of the harsh realities that might unsettle or even disturb viewers who perhaps are more accustomed to the memes that keep them at a safe artistic distance. In ‘Street Fighting Man,’ these realities take on eye-opening awareness wiping away the expectations of exoticism that inadvertently creeps into some documentaries about the urban crisis in America.”
- Les Roka, The Selective Echo
FROM THE DIRECTOR
Thanks for checking out the Kickstarter campaign for STREET FIGHTING MAN! Making this film has been a moving and transformative experience for me, and I look forward to sharing it with you! Not only is your pledge an important part of the production process, it will also help shine a light on how difficult and complicated life can be for people in post-industrial communities throughout the world.
What would you do to make money if you couldn't find a job? How would you try and secure your neighborhood if social services like police and fire were scarce? How would you find a permanent home if you were homeless? Unfortunately, these are questions that are way too common in our communities. Regardless of where you live, we all care about the same things. We all want security, peace, and the opportunity to leave behind something lasting for future generations. It is my hope that STREET FIGHTING MAN will offer an eye-opening perspective on American life and allow audiences the opportunity to find common ground with our subjects.
If you have any questions about the project, I'd love to hear from you. Please message me directly! ~ Andrew
STREET FIGHTING MAN is a feature-length, character-driven documentary that follows three inner-city men – each a generation apart – as they seek to define their lives in post-industrial Detroit. Deris Solomon is a young single father who wants to leave behind a high-risk life on the streets; Luke Williams is a middle-aged man remodeling a former crack house after being homeless for several years; and James “Jack Rabbit” Jackson is a retired police officer struggling to save his neighborhood from crime after the local police station is dissolved. Through the stories of these men, the film unflinchingly reveals how hard it can be to build a future when everything seems to be crumbling around you.
THE OFFICIAL TRAILER
For stills and more information, please visit streetfightingmanthemovie.com
WHY WE ARE MAKING THIS FILM
The picture painted of Detroit in the national media is bleak. It is a portrait of a city in critical condition, placed within the context of a nation in crisis. Given the dramatic proportions of this tale, many storytellers eager to help us better understand this moment in US history have flocked to Detroit and made it the focus of their recent work. In a recent article in Guernica, professor John Patrick Leary from Wayne University categorized the different types of stories that are emerging in the public imagination of the city: Detroit as ruin porn, Detroit as utopian possibility, and Detroit as metonym for the American condition. But as Detroit blogger Willy Staley points out (in his response to Leary’s article), “the neighborhoods of Detroit tell the real story.” STREET FIGHTING MAN is the story of Detroit’s neighborhoods and the people who have persisted there in the face of extreme hardship.
But that’s not all there is to it. The film also explores crime, poverty, education, and the decline of the black middle class in America. It also explores why economic inequality plays a role in creating disconnect between generations. And most importantly, the film asks the universal question: what we are leaving behind for future generations?
And it does all of this by telling three specific human stories.
21 year-old single parent, Deris Solomon, dropped out of high school after being shot in the leg at a football game. After living on the streets, selling drugs, stealing, and shooting dice, Deris gets his girlfriend pregnant. Faced with parenthood, he decides to finish school and build a stable life for his daughter; a life he never had. Deris enrolls in the Young Detroit Builders (YDB), a non-profit that educates high school dropouts and prepares them for their GED. Because his father has been in jail for as long as he can remember, Deris is determined to be present in his daughter’s life. However, when getting an education does not pay the bills, the promise of quick money makes it difficult for Deris to walk away from the hustle of the streets.
Deris takes the bus to and from school every day.
Homeless and struggling, 40 year old Luke Williams manages to purchase a former crack house for 1,500 dollars. He lives there with no water or electricity, while gathering materials to repurpose the home. He sleeps on a mattress in the attic, lives on canned or donated food, and showers at a nearby truck stop. His dog Irie is his only constant companion as he undergoes the daunting process of remodeling the abandoned home. He collects cans and takes odd jobs to raise the money required to hang drywall, install doors, repair the plumbing, replace windows, and paint the exterior. Just before Christmas, on the coldest day of the year, tragedy strikes and Luke is faced with a decision: stay and give Detroit another chance or leave and try to start a new life somewhere else.
Luke works on his unfinished home day and night.
Everyone in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood knows James "Jack Rabbit" Jackson; an eccentric, 63-year-old retired police officer who used to drive the neighborhood ice cream truck. He has lived in Detroit his entire life, watching as many of his friends and family moved to the suburbs to escape rising taxes, increasing crime, and failing public schools. Nostalgia for a bygone era, when Detroit was home to a burgeoning black middle class, keeps Jack Rabbit firmly rooted in his community despite an influx of drugs, arson, and theft. Since the local police station closed due to budget cuts, crime is on the rise and long-time residents are moving out. Armed with a small pistol, a phone, and a video camera with night vision, Jack Rabbit patrols the neighborhood, intimidates criminals, and responds to calls from neighbors in distress. His mission is simple: keep the neighborhood clean and safe in an effort to discourage families from leaving. However, not everyone in the neighborhood understands or appreciates his efforts. When violence escalates between several young men who grew up on his street, Jack Rabbit discovers that the most challenging battles are often fought within.
Jack Rabbit often visitis his neighbors to gather information and offer advice.
HOW YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS WILL BE USED
Since successfully reaching our goal in our first Kickstarter campaign, the team of STREET FIGHTING MAN has been hard at work shooting the remainder of the film, applying for documentary grants, hosting fundraising events, and expanding what began as a small crew into a working team, full of producers, editors, advisors, and a composer. We are currently working toward a rough cut and plan to be completely done with the film by late summer.
Post-production is the most expensive phase of this film. Including the money we hope to raise from this campaign, we are trying to raise over 60k during the next two months. Kickstarter is just one way for us to inch closer to that goal. We recently secured a sizable donation from an investor in Detroit, but we are still a ways out from reaching 60k. While our Kickstarter goal may seem relatively low by comparison at only 20k, reaching that figure will push our overall post-production budget toward the 60k mark and allow us to pay for the following items:
1. Editor (Greg Snider, award-winning editor of How to Die in Oregon)
2. Composer (will be announcing soon)
3. Archival news footage
4. Sound editing and mixing
5. Color correction
Creating a truly lasting film requires that we collaborate with talented people like Greg. It also requires a professional polish that comes from serious sound editing and color correction. These are crucial ingredients for the completion of a quality film that will do justice to the stories we've captured. But there are other costs as well; things that many people don't think about such as legal fees, music licensing, and exhibition copies of the film for theaters and film festivals. With your help, we can pay for all of these necessary expenses and prepare STREET FIGHTING MANfor the wide audience it deserves.
This police station on Detroit’s East side was closed down when the city could no longer afford operating costs.
HELP US SPREAD THE WORD
The easiest way to help us spread the word is to get involved on Facebook. Click the ‘like’ icon at the top of this page to share our Kickstarter campaign with your Facebook friends. You can also ‘like’ our official Facebook page and get directly involved with the filmmakers and other fans of the project. Its a great place to connect with the STREET FIGHTING MAN community and stay up to date with our production.
We have also prepared five tweets to help you spread the word on Twitter. There is a sizable community of people on Twitter just waiting to hear about great projects like this. Just copy and paste the text below and share our film with your followers!
1. I just backed Street Fighting Man on #Kickstarter! Powerful depiction of 3 men in post-industrial #Detroit! http://www.tinyurl.com/streetfightingman
2. A powerful story of resilience and survival on the streets of #Detroit http://www.tinyurl.com/streetfightingman
3. How do you build your life when everything seems to be crumbling around you? #Detroit #Kickstarter http://www.tinyurl.com/streetfightingman
4. Check out this #documentary! A look into multi-generational struggle in #Detroit #Kickstarter http://www.tinyurl.com/streetfightingman
5. Award winning filmmaker Andrew James’ uncompromising depiction of #Detroit #Kickstarter http://www.tinyurl.com/streetfightingman
6. Three men seek to define their lives in post-industrial #Detroit #Kickstarter http://www.tinyurl.com/streetfightingman
Of course! Please just add 15 dollars for shipping if you wish to select a physical reward (poster, DVD, etc).
Can I still help the production of STREET FIGHTING MAN even though I can't contribute financially right now?
Yes! Absolutely! Sharing this campaign with friends, loved ones, and colleagues is just as important as pledging your financial support. We encourage you to post our campaign on facebook, twitter, pinterest, tumbler, and blogger! And please consider becoming a fan of the film on facebook too! Its a great way to show support and get involved with the ever-growing STREET FIGHTING MAN community. http://www.facebook.com/documentarymovie