Engaging leaders in solutions to economic recovery

About the Project

As Detroit houses are demolished by the thousands, automobile-company wages plummet, institutions crumble, and tourists gawk at the “charming decay,” Detropia’s vibrant characters strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance. More than just a poignant reflection of a city teetering on the brink of dissolution, Detropia points to a bigger issue of a nation struggling to keep up with global economic shifts. As the Ford Foundation considered how this cautionary tale could help Detroit and other cities facing similar challenges, Active Voice worked with national and local leaders to use the film as a springboard for dialogue around the need for new approaches to community development.

Our Work

  • Local braintrust in Detroit
  • National braintrust in Washington, DC
  • Connected economic development organizations to national theatrical release
  • Conference screening with city government officials
  • Online screening with mayor's offices nationwide


  • Active participation and dialogue among government officials from cities in the Rust Belt
  • Think tanks cited new ways of talking about economic development and recovery

Key Partners

  • Loki Films
  • Ford Foundation
  • National League of Cities
  • National Community Reinvestment Coalition

Film Trailer

Filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady