This week on Q&A our guest is Heidi Ewing, co-director and co-producer, of the documentary film “Detropia.” Ewing discusses the premise of the film which seeks to highlight the continuing deterioration of one of America’s once robust metropolitan cities. The film premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and won the Editing Award for Documentaries.
The co-director and co-producer of the movie is Rachel Grady. Ewing talks about Detroit’s dramatic decrease in population over the past fifty years. She states an additional fifty-percent of the remaining population would leave immediately if given the opportunity. Ewing highlights Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s efforts to bring the city’s financial situation under control. She suggests that Detroit is not alone with its problems, and the United States may be heading for an era of failed cities. She also discusses how the disappearance of factory jobs has affected local workers. Ewing introduces many of the characters from her film, including two illegal “scrappers” who strip abandoned factories for their cash generating metals, a local blogger who explores empty buildings and imagines what the city once was, and two young artists who recently moved to Detroit in search of an inexpensive home and a place to experiment with their art.
Heidi Ewing is a 1993 graduate of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and was born and raised in Farmington Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. She and business partner Rachel Grady are the co-founders of New York-based Loki Films. Their past work includes the movie “Jesus Camp,” nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary in 2007, along with several other feature documentaries and television programs. She is married and resides in New York City.