Family Pictures USA: Detroit Is The Future and It’s Okay!
Directed by Thomas Allen Harris
Part family reunion, part trunk show, FAMILY PICTURES USA takes on Motor City with the help of its longtime residents. This soon-to-be PBS series explores history through the photographs and stories handed down from one generation to the next. For the first season, host and director Thomas Allen Harris traverses streets and neighborhoods in Detroit to piece together its rise from riverside village, to a great American city, to its present post “urban renewal” state.
In this pilot episode, we meet Tim Burke, an artist who builds his sculpture with cast-off materials; Jamon Jordan, a historian of African American Detroit; and poet and performer Marsha Music, whose father, Joe Von Battle, was owner of a shop that popularized the music of Detroit in the 1940s and 50s. They all draw on their memories and family albums to bring the boom after World War II to life. Meanwhile, host Harris goes looking for his own Detroit family history.
Engaging and informative, this CAAM-supported transmedia project will soon expand to other cities, bringing their pasts to light as well.
Immediately following the episode premiere, will be a very special CAAMFest Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow (DDFR) led by FAMILY PICTURES USA Executive Producers Thomas Allen Harris and Don Perry. DDFR is a multimedia performance with a live audience, where people share their stories and family photographs, on cellphones or as actual photos, projected on a large screen. By harnessing the power of personal story-telling, DDFR also unlocks the creativity and imagination of participants, motivating them to become more expressive and sensitive to the stories of others. Everyone is invited to bring family photos and participate!
— Mordecai Stayton
Executive Producer: Don Perry
Director: Thomas Allen Harris
Co-Presented by: SF Documentary Festival
Executive Producers: Thomas Allen Harris, Don Perry
Producer: Don Perry
Writer: Don Perry
Editor: Josh Granger