‘Lean, Mean & Green’ adds to Freep Film Fest lineup

From the Free Film Festival announcement.

Documentary Film Lean, Mean & Green to Premiere at Detroit Film Theatre

Detroit, Michigan

A compelling documentary that traces successful community-led revitalization efforts in the Midwest – some say Rustbelt – cities and features Detroit’s efforts will premiere on September 25, 2013.

One of Us Films will premiere the documentary film Lean, Mean and Green at 7:00 p.m. in the Detroit Film Theatre in the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan, 48202. The film, inspired by the book, ‘Reimagining Detroit’ by Detroit Free Press Reporter John Gallagher, was filmed in Detroit and also features Youngstown, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Torino, Italy and the Ruhr Valley in Western Germany.

“When I read Reimagining Detroit, I wanted to be able to show people the stories John wrote about.  I was tried of the images being broadcast around the world about Detroit when I knew people have been working to transform the city into something different – smaller in population, but cleaner and more sustainable.” said Carrie LeZotte, director of the film and  executive producer at One of Us Films.  “Having grown up watching films at the DFT, I couldn’t be more excited about premiering the film there.”

The screening will be followed by a question and answer discussion with LeZotte and journalist John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press.

Lean, Mean & Green serves as a response to the images of Detroit blight that have been seen around the world. It has already been an inspiration to others and validation for the work the people in Detroit and other cities are accomplishing.

In Detroit, the film features Riet Schumak’s work with the Neighbors Building Brightmoor, Malik Yakini and the D-Town Farm, Jenenne Whitfield and Tyree Guyton of the Heidelberg Project, Gary Wozniak of Recovery Park, Roberta Urbani with DTE Energy, among many others. Big Jim London’s work to clean up corner stores in Youngstown, Ohio is featured as well as Cesar Viveros beautiful murals, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Renata Spath in the Ruhr Valley in Germany and Mayor Valentino Castellani of Torino, Italy.

“Detroit is the great urban laboratory, because we have more of the issues to deal with than anyplace else, but a lot of places around the world are looking to Detroit because they have their own issues that they need to deal with, and they are hoping we can come up with some answers.” Gallagher said in an interview with Devin Scillian on Flashpoint.

All funds for production of the project have come from Michigan-based entities. In addition to the Premiere Sponsorship of the DTE Energy Foundation, production was made possible by grants from The Kellogg Foundation and the Michigan Humanities Council. Bronze level sponsors include the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, The Kresge Foundation, Quicken Loans and Health Alliance Plan of Michigan.

General admission tickets are free to the public and doors open at 6:00.

VIP pre-seating is available with a pledge of $25 or by becoming a Lean, Mean or Green Champion on the Kickstarter Campaign being run to support distribution of the film. Pledges include a DVD copy of the film.  http://bit.ly/LMGDOC

Lean, Mean & Green was inspired by the book Reimagining Detroit written by John Gallagher, published by Wayne State University Press.

For more information contact:
Ann Slawnik

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Fifteen years ago, One of Us Films began with a single inspiration.  Read about it:  Metropolitan Woman article

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Daily Tribune article

The Heart of Haven Awards

Click here to view photos of One of Us Films honorees, Carrie LeZotte, Lora Probert, and Diane Cheklich, at the event.

HAVEN honors exemplary volunteers

Click here to read story.  (*Note:  One of Us Films is misnamed “About Us Films,” within the article.)

One of Us Films Announces Production of “Hunting Blind” and Job Creation

Detroit based production company One of Us Films will be shooting the film Hunting Blind in Michigan State Parks the second week of November.  The story is about two brothers who go hunting and encounter a trespasser.  The short film budgeted around $100,000, will employ forty people throughout all phases of the production.

Written by Ann Arbor resident Sara Snyder, the film is produced and directed by Franklin resident Carrie LeZotte.  Cast for the film includes Michigan talent Glenn Dossin and Dennis Janiske.  Brian Kimmet, originally of Ann Arbor, now based in Los Angeles, works regularly in television, including featured roles on 24 and Heroes.

Kimmet is not the only talent coming to Michigan to work on Hunting Blind. Assistant Director Patrick Priest, has returned to Niles, Michigan, where he grew up, to work in the film industry.  Chris Dame, 1st Assistant Camera and Jonna Walsh, 2nd Assistant Director, both of Chicago, are on board to fill key production positions.

“The infusion of new talent to Michigan is really exciting,” said director LeZotte.  “I miss the crews I was working with before the incentive passed, but they are working regularly on big-budget films now and I’m thrilled for them.  The crew we’ve been able to attract to this project are building their resumes and breaking into the local market.  I can see the tax incentive working and it’s doing what it’s intended for, bringing jobs and people back to Michigan.”

Short films, like Hunting Blind, serve both as a calling card for directors and actors and are most often seen at film festivals.  They also create an opportunity for production crew to move up in a department, from 2nd to 1st Assistant Camera for example, or earn days on set for union eligibility.   The goal for LeZotte is to leverage this experience into directing a feature film.

“A feature film would be the ideal next step.  Features require a lot more capital, so it’s about finding the right partners in order to make that happen.”

Hunting Blind is the third project by One of Us Films to benefit from the Michigan tax incentive for film productions.  Other projects include the documentary Regional Roots and the animation Daisy Tells a Secret.   The production company also produces industrials, training and commercial work for businesses and non-profits.

For more information contact:

Lora Probert