"You can't fight a problem until you understand it's roots."
That's the challenge undertaken by the filmmakers behind "Deforce: America's Past. America's Future. Detroit's Present," a new documentary examining Detroit's political history and the current state of the city.
The movie opens Wednesday evening at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. It's shown at film festivals across the country and has garnered praise from the likes of legendary documentarian Ken Burns, who called the it "an essential study of an iconic industrial aftermath."
For the Detroit premiere, the filmmakers and some of their interviewees, including residents, community leaders, academics and elected officials, will come to the Wright to discuss the film.
The project was initiated, co-written and produced by metro Detroiter Andrew Rodney. He brought New York University Tisch School of the Arts graduate and former Wylie E. Groves High School classmate Daniel Falconer onto the film as director, co-writer and producer.
Rodney and Falconer started by reading up on Detroit's history, they said on WDET's "The Craig Fahle Show."
"You pick what you don't think you've heard in the dialogue that the reading tells you is really critical, but somehow gets left out of the conversation," Rodney said.
"Deforce" tackles Detroit's problems over the last half-century, recording how they've shaped the city and delving into the nitty-gritty of policy decisions about public housing, the effect of the war on drugs, violence and blight -- all while still showing a city full of proud Detroiters.
"We're all on the same side here," says a voiceover in the film's trailer. "This is not downtown versus the neighborhoods, this is Detroiters against a negative future."
"Deforce: America's Past. America's Future. Detroit's Present" makes its Detroit premiere with a screening and panel discussion at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14 at the GM Theater at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 15 East Warren Avenue, Detroit. For more information, see the movie's website.