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'Lemonade Detroit' film shares stories of resilience

Documentary film by Erik Prouix highlights the resilience of Detroit while paying for itself through a Buy-A-Frame offer

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What made you attempt this crowdsourced approach to funding?
 I was talking about the film at a conference in Detroit and I showed a three-minute trailer. And somebody at the conference sent me a Tweet saying, hey, did you ever think about selling time in the film? I had had the idea to do Kickstarter, and I had this thought in my head about that million-dollar homepage a few years ago, where he sold pixels for one dollar, and then this guy said that, and that became Buy-A-Frame. There are 24 frames in every second of a film and 130,000 frames, give or take, over the course of a nine-minute feature, and all of those frames are on sale, for a dollar. In exchange, people get producer credits, and when the film is done, if they bought at least a second, I’ll send them a clip of the frame they purchased.

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Dowser.org reports on the practical and human elements of social innovation, highlighting creative approaches to social change to help people understand how to build better communities and a better world.

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How do you find the people who share their stories in the film?
 A lot of people just send me links. I do a lot of reading and a lot of Google searches. And the best stories, I find them when I’m there. The best stories are people who may not even have e-mail addresses – people who started a business out of some situation in their neighborhood, or get themselves out of a homeless situation and are now doing things that are inspiring whole communities. There’s a lot of people who haven’t necessary been written about yet, and being there is how I get those stories.

What do you hope to do with the film when it’s complete?
 My first goal is to make sure that any Detroiter who wants to see it can see it – and not to feel like they are at the end of the rope, but at the beginning of it. When you’ve gone through difficulties for some time, you can feel hopeless. My best hope is that somebody sees the film and feels like, you know what, it’s not over. I was screening the 17-minute short of “Lemonade Detroit” at the Chamber of Commerce annual shareholders meeting in December, and this woman came up to me and she had been running a business for 10 years and had had a real hard time over the past year and she said, ‘Tomorrow I was going to go and file for dissolution, but you’ve inspire me to keep going, and I’m not going to give up in this business.’ And that’s why I did this. Even if it ended right here, I would feel that it was worthwhile. So, I just want more of that.

Are you sending it to festivals?
 A lot of festivals won’t screen it unless you’re premiering it there, and I’m just concerned about screening it in Detroit, and having Detroit own the film – because the people who live there who have bought frames for it own the film, and I want them to have the first crack at seeing it. 

This article originally appeared at Dowser.org. A 17-minute version of the film can be seen with the original story.

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