Planet Green Doc Shines Positive Light on Detroit


Yesterday over breakfast with a professional colleague, talk turned to where we grew up — in my case, suburban Detroit. As is often the case when I mention the city I grew up within miles of, the conversation turned to the Motor City’s economic woes.

But unlike many people I talk to about this, who know Detroit only from the headlines and not from personal experience, my breakfast companion had spent time in the city covering the auto industry as a business reporter. So instead of joining the chorus of the city’s problems (of which there are many), our talk turned to the opportunities in real estate and infrastructure that offer potential for the city’s revival and the many residents who remain committed to just such a resurgence.

Now those die-hard Detroiters trying to restore their metropolis are the subjects of a new Planet Green documentary called Detroit in Overdrive. The three-part special, a co-production with General Motors, follows Detroiters who are reinventing their lives and their city. Each hour-long episode tells the story of four residents working to rebuild the community’s struggling economy and bring (positive) attention to the city.

Those profiled include a fashion designer who moved back to Detroit from New York City to start a line of jeans called Motor City Denim that are constructed in a retrofitted factory, a start-up record label called Woodbridge Records looking to make a mark on Detroit’s music scene, and a College of Creative Studies student designing coats for the homeless.

Detroit in Overdrive premieres on Thursday, Aug. 4 at 8 p.m.