Synopsis by Mark Deming
In 1930, Detroit was the fastest growing city in the world as the booming auto industry made it one of America's key manufacturing centers and people flocked to Michigan looking for steady jobs and a chance to live out the American dream. In the 21st Century, as American car makers struggle to compete and production has moved either overseas or to "right to work" states, unemployment in Detroit has been estimated at close to 50 percent, while the city's population has shrunk from 1.8 million in 1950 to less than 714,000 in 2010. Filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady present a look at life in contemporary Detroit in the documentary Detropia, which focuses on the people who are struggling to keep a great American city alive in the wake of serious economic and political woes. Detropia also offers troubling facts on the circumstances that led to Detroit's economic collapse, and how the city's problems may be coming to a town near you. Detropia was an official selection at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it received honors for best documentary editing.