I became interested in making a film in Detroit after reading a Metro Times article about James “Jack Rabbit” Jackson. The article featured a picture of Jack Rabbit standing on a street corner at night with his partner, Keith, close behind him. The two men, Jack Rabbit in particular, had taken it upon themselves to be the neighborhood watch in the face of growing crime and dwindling public services - and their story of resistance resonated with me.
Jack Rabbit’s story and the struggle of his largely black working-class neighborhood is the struggle of our times. Its urgency is fueled by an runaway economic system which has completely left behind poor and working people. I contacted Jack Rabbit and asked him if we could meet. He was enthusiastic about the idea and excited to tell his story and the story of his neighborhood. After spending some time in Detroit and meeting Deris and Luke, we knew we had to broaden the scope of the film to include them.
It was then that I decided to move to Detroit - to capture the stories of Jack Rabbit, Deris and Luke as they unfolded. I felt that a longitudinal, fly on the wall style would allow me time to get to know the community better and find the story in collaboration with the subjects. This extended time in the field allowed me to form close bonds with the three men, and it gave me a unique opportunity to tell their stories in a very personal and emotional way. - Andrew James