I’ve been hard at work on a new short documentary film project about my great uncle, Frank Drasky, and his quest to achieve the American Dream as a worker for the Ford Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan, starting in the 1920s. The first two parts of work on this film have been rather fun. They included a few visits to Detroit to learn about what Anthony Bourdain has dubbed “our most American city”. I did the “ruin porn” route, but quickly discovered there was so much more here. To quote a Detroit street artist Fel3000ft, “it takes heart to fight for something that so many consider a lost cause”.
The second part of this project included interviews with my father, who was Frank’s nephew (Frank was my grandfather’s brother). My mother, our venerable family historian, who pieced together a family tree – had some information on Uncle Frank – including the address to his house in Detroit’s Nortown neighborhood. While Google’s street view showed a house was still there, a drive past it on one of my trips yielded a pleasant surprise. Not only was the house still standing – the entire block was one of the few that had not just survived all that has happened in Detroit, it appears to thrive.
Now I start the third leg of this film, the search for the narrative that will bring together past and present and tie my family’s 20th century history to modern-day Detroit. I’ll be making another trip to the Motor City, April 13-21 – and am seeking funding to help defray the travel costs, as well as to see me through the arduous editing and post-production phases that will follow.
To see a trailer of the work so far, and to make a donation (or simply just help out by sharing on social media), please visit my Indiegogo page.