Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 28, 2012.


DETROPIA features Detroiters who refuse to leave the building, even as the flames rise. An engrossing and essential cinematic tapestry.


DETROPIA is a labor of love, over 3 years in the making. In 2009 Heidi - a native Detroiter - and Rachel set out to explore the rise and fall (and rise again?) of Detroit, one of America's most iconic cities. The birthplace of the middle class, it is truly a former "Utopia" of innovation and ideas. 

Our pledgers have done the unthinkable and brought us to our goal in only 14 days. We don't know how to express to you how that makes us feel. Every documentary filmmaker toils for years with the hopes that eventually the work will be shared.

Every penny that continues to come in for the remainder of this campaign will go towards more cities, more screenings. Nobody likes being called a "secondary market." Cleveland, Akron, Madison, Baltimore, Tucson, Santa Fe, Pittsburgh...the list goes on and on. It's a big country! Independent films rarely see the light of day in these awesome places that need and want to join the discussion. We have a huge opportunity now to change that with DETROPIA. 

The story of Detroit is the story of all of us. The city and this country are both at a crossroads. Which way will we go? The story of this epic city and its struggles can act as a springboard for a productive conversation so many of us want to have. 

We have little over a week left. You have been so generous and supportive so far - please help us in these final days. If you haven't given yet, please consider. If you have already contributed - THANK YOU! - then please pass on to at least 5 friends and encourage them to join this movement.

With gratitude,

Heidi and Rachel

Here is more about DETROPIA: 

While the city of Detroit continues to face real and serious challenges there is still so much hope there. Optimism, pluck and grit lies within the citizens themselves, as described so eloquently by Caroline Libresco of Sundance Film Festival where we had our World Premiere earlier this year (and won the Documentary Editing Award):

"The film’s vibrant, gutsy characters glow and erupt like flames from the ashes. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance."

This film is our truly most independent (and visual) work and a creative departure for us – we wanted it to be a springboard for conversation about where we are headed as a nation. In order to do that, we need people to see the film as far and wide as possible. That’s why we’ve decided for the first time in our careers as filmmakers to go “Direct to Fans” and distribute our work independently, starting with a premiere at the IFC Center Theatres in New York City on September 7.

For the first time we will be directly involved in managing the life of our own film. With DETROPIA<!/detropiathefilm> we plan to go beyond the usual coastal cities that consume indie film and into regions, theaters and venues that want to see the movie but can't -- unless we bring it directly to them with your help.

The story of Detroit has both appalled and attracted many of us as we’ve watched it unfold and there is already a lot of interest in screening our documentary. Our plan is to build an independent release of at least 25 American cities. At the same time we’ll be doing more screenings with communities and educational institutions where spirited debates and discussions can take place around the story of DETROPIA<>.

This all takes resources. Your contribution will go directly into the theatrical distribution of this film, including the costs of a trailer, prints of the film, shipping materials, local and national publicity and some travel for outreach and community screenings in several cities.

We are so genuinely lucky -- we already had help getting this film completed by the Ford Foundation, ITVS, Sundance Institute, Impact Parters, Vital Projects, and more (and we are so grateful). Now we need you - our friends, families, supporters, future audiences, and friends unknown - to help us do the rest.  Please help us bring the story of DETROPIA<> to the world. We’ve been waiting so long to share it.


Heidi and Rachel


 Poster by Rob Jones (off-set plate printed on 80lb matte text)


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    151 backers

    EXTRA EXTRA! We’ll send you a monthly DETROPIA newsletter to keep you updated on all upcoming screenings and news on our journey releasing the film.

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    115 backers

    SPIRIT OF DETROIT: We’ll email you an exclusive high-res photo picked especially for you from our archives. Some will be from the documentary itself, some will be behind-the-scenes …it’ll be a surprise when you get it. You’ll also get the DETROPIA newsletter every month to keep you connected.

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    210 backers

    WISH YOU WERE HERE PACKAGE: Own the digital download of DETROPIA before your friends! Plus a photo from film and our newsletter!

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    160 backers Limited (15 left of 175)

    COLLECTORS ITEM! How would you like a gorgeous medium-size limited edition DETROPIA poster (18” x 24”) DESIGNED BY WHITE STRIPES’ ARTIST ROB JONES? We thought so! We’ll be super excited to send it to you. You’ll also get the digital download of DETROPIA (Jan. 2013) and the newsletter to stay in touch. (Please add $3 to your pledge for shipping and $6 internationally).

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    74 backers Limited (26 left of 100)

    EXCLUSIVE TO KICKSTARTER: you can’t rock out without the kick-ass DETROPIA soundtrack by Motor City native DIAL 81. In addition to the (exclusive here) digital download, you’ll also get a medium DETROPIA poster, the digital download of the film (Jan. 2013) and join the DETROPIA newsletter club. (Please add $3 to pledge for shipping and $6 internationally.)

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    28 backers Limited (22 left of 50)

    LARGE FULL MOVIE SIZE limited edition DETROPIA poster (27” x 40”) DESIGNED BY WHITE STRIPES’ ARTIST ROB JONES. (Please add $3 to pledge for shipping and $6 internationally.) Plus DIAL 81's amazing soundtrack, the digital download of film (Jan 2013) and a shout-out on our official website.

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    D-BOMB POSTER PACKAGE: we’ll send you the LARGE FULL-SIZE limited edition DETROPIA poster (27” x 40”) DESIGNED BY WHITE STRIPES’ ARTIST ROB JONES, plus a gorgeous 12” x 18” poster for our previous film THE BOYS OF BARAKA, designed by Clayton Weiner. And as a BONUS either a poster of the hit-documentary FREAKONOMICS or a gorgeous JESUS CAMP poster... Thou shalt not find this package anywhere else, it’s a show-stopper.. (Please add $3 to your pledge for shipping and $6 internationally). And of course DIAL 81's kicking soundtrack, the digital download of our film (Jan 2013) AND a hearty shout-out on our DETROPIA website.

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    12 backers Limited (28 left of 40)

    MOVIE NIGHT! We’re gonna send you an autographed DETROPIA DVD and a box-set of DVDS from Loki Films ("The Boys of Baraka," "Jesus Camp," "12th & Delaware," "Freakonomics" and "Dissident."). We’re also gonna autograph the LARGE FULL-SIZE limited edition DETROPIA poster (27” x 40”) DESIGNED BY WHITE STRIPES’ ARTIST ROB JONES, PLUS a special shout-out on our DETROPIA website and you’ll get the digital download of the DETROPIA soundtrack by Motor City native DIAL 81 and of course, the monthly newsletter.

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    10 backers Limited (5 left of 15)

    TICKET TO RIDE. Oh boy, we can’t wait to send you everything above AND to reserve 2 tickets for you to the New York City Theatrical Premiere on September 7, 2012. We’ll make sure you get all the details and we’ll look forward to meeting you there, we can’t cover travel costs but we will save your seats. You will also get a year-long membership to the IFC Center! Join us as we launch into the marketplace. New York Native @AlecBaldwin (yep, THAT one) Tweeted that DETROPIA was “a great film” – we heart you and Motown hearts New York.

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    THE CADILLAC PACKAGE: We’ll not only send you All the rewards above with a special personal note of thanks from us, but we’ll attend a private screening of DETROPIA for you and your friends and go on-and-on with a personal Q&A about anything you’d like to know about the project or filmmaking for as long as you can stand us. Become your own film festival, we’ll come to you anywhere in the Continental USA anytime during 2012 for your personal screening. Travel Expenses are on us. We can’t wait to meet you!

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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    HEROIC DETROPIAN! We wouldn’t even know how to thank you, but we’ll try. Not only do you get any and all rewards we’re offering, but we’ll fly you and a guest to New York City for the Theatrical Premiere of DETROPIA on September 7, 2012. The whole DETROPIA creative team will join you at the screening and then host you for a dinner in the city afterwards, we can talk about the film or anything you want. All expenses for 2 RT coach tickets and one night’s stay in New York City are included. You’ll also get your name in the credits of the final DVD version of the film to memorialize your support forever.

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Funding period

- (30 days)