Support Local Journalism. Donate to Detroit Metro Times.

Friday, August 25, 2017

How the documentary 'Street Fighting Men' told a Detroit story correctly

Posted By on Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 6:33 AM

click to enlarge full_cover.png
There's a very interesting piece in The Utah Review this week about a Detroit documentary that was shot several years ago. The documentary is called Street Fighting Men, and it was based on a cover story by John Carlisle — then known to MT readers as Detroitblogger John — concerning retired Detroit police officer James "Jack Rabbit" Jackson. Jackson was a sort of informal sheriff in the city's Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood, described by Carlisle as "de facto leader of the neighborhood, like an unofficial sheriff." The film is now making the rounds at film festivals and getting a good reception.

The story struck a chord with Utah-based filmmaker Andrew James, who decided to make a film about Jackson. As the story in the Utah Review tells it, James decided he couldn't do Detroit justice by paratrooping in to tell one of the city's stories.

As a white filmmaker, James also was sensitive to presenting the neighborhood’s story with dignity, integrity and respect that echoed its unique history, along with the emotional scars and pains that were manifest in this war for self-determination and preservation. As the young filmmaker explored Jack Rabbit’s story, he discovered other individuals who also were street fighters unwilling to settle for defeat even as they wondered just how much the battle was worth the effort. ... Making the most consequential decision of the the project, James and his wife, Jolyn Schleiffarth, realized that full justice in telling their stories could only be accomplished by leaving their Utah home to live in Detroit for more than a year.

The article says that the "creative return on that investment is more than ample, incisive and enlightening in Street Fighting Men, the best documentary in recent years about Detroit’s crises."



It's a good read, and a piece of journalism that features several references near and dear to MT, from Carlisle to longtime MT editorial adviser Herb Boyd. Click here to have a look.

Tags: , , , ,

We’re keeping you informed…
...and it’s what we love to do. From local politics and culture to national news that hits close to home, Metro Times has been keeping Detroit informed for years.

It’s never been more important to support local news sources. A free press means accountability and a well-informed public, and we want to keep our unique and independent reporting available for many, many years to come.

If quality journalism is important to you, please consider a donation to Metro Times. Every reader contribution is valuable and so appreciated, and goes directly to support our coverage of critical issues and neighborhood culture. Thank you.

Read the Digital Print Issue

March 25, 2020

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit