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Film Based on Deadly 1967 Detroit 5-Day-Long Race Riots in the Works w/ Kathryn Bigelow Directing

Film Based on Deadly 1967 Detroit 5-Day-Long Race Riots in the Works w/ Kathryn Bigelow Directing

Kathryn Bigelow will direct, as well as produce with Mark Boal and Annapurna’s Megan Ellison and Matthew Budman an untitled true crime drama from an original screenplay by Boal.

Referred to at the moment as the “Untitled Detroit Project,” it is being financed by Annapurna Pictures, and is set to begin principal photography this summer.

Specific details about the Detroit project are being kept mostly underwraps for now, other than the press release mention that it will be set against the backdrop of Detroit’s devastating riots that took place over five haunting summer days in 1967. Boal is said to have been researching and working on the project, which explores systemic racism in urban Detroit, for more than a year. Although no studio is yet attached, a release date is being targeted for 2017, the 50th anniversary of the riots.

The riots were a series of violent confrontations between residents of predominantly African American neighborhoods of Detroit, and the city’s police department, that began on July 23, 1967, and lasted for five days. The immediate cause of the riot was a police raid at an after-hours club, the site of a welcome-home party for two returning African American Vietnam War veterans.

The riots resulted in the deaths of 43 people, including 33 African Americans and 10 whites. Many other people were injured; more than 7,000 people were arrested; and more than 1,000 buildings were burned in the uprising. 

Those 5 days of upheaval are considered one of the catalysts for the Black Power movement of the period.

Around the same time, President LBJ appointed a commission to investigate the violent disorders that had erupted in several USA cities, including Detroit. The commission’s 1968 report cited racism, discrimination, and poverty as among the causes of the riots, and famously warned that “our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal.”

Needless to say, the casting of this will be closely watched by us. Notably, through what character’s eyes will the story unfold? Who will its main protagonist(s) be?

Boal and Bigelow previously collaborated on “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”

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I would like to think that a white woman writing and directing such an important story shows solidarity, not prejudice. Women continue to have their own struggles in society, different but similar. Today rape, sexual assault, denigration & dismissal are still common, regardless of race. If we think with our hearts rather than tow the same old prejudice we can find our best way together. We can unite against these inequalities and make a difference.

Whiney Negro

I agree! All movies about black struggle should only be made by black folk while we simultaneously cry racism.


Hollywood is nothing if not brazen. SMDH


So tired of our stories being told by white people. Not interested.

Nancy Chatham Lyons

Why wouldnt it be filmed in Detroit? If not, shame on you! I lived thru it in Detroit as a child. It should be filmed there too.
It would also help the economy of the area that brought you this story ��

Walter H Gavin

True freedom and power lies in the ability to tell one’s own story own’s own way.

Chasity F

Brent H I thought the same dang thing. … Of course they are are coming to save us and show everyone excalty why diversity is bs billionaire hires white chic to director movie about black riots in the 60’s yeah the true face of affirmative action!

brent hansel

never fear you guise, a White Woman is in charge of this project about Black people. What could possibly go wrong?

Joe Bruce

If they need to talk to someone that was on the raid team that started the riot they should get in touch with me

kai azor

This could be the year of the Black Power film…now someone has to make the Fred Hampton movie.

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