Michael Bolton ('Gotta Keep Dreamin' - Detroit)
'Keep The Dream Alive'
Grammy Award-Winner Michael Bolton and Christina Kline, Michael's Manager, have been working together, over the last three years, in the making of a documentary film on the revival of the City of Detroit, Michigan, USA.
The now-named documentary, "Gotta Keep Dreamin : Detroit's 21st Century Renaissance," had a Premiere, of sorts, this past October 2nd, 2015, in Detroit at its famous Fox Theatre venue. A night where local celebrities, and people connected with the making of the documentary - Chris Ilitch, Mark Reuss, Veronika Scott, Jason Hall, Melissa Price, Dan Gilbert, Mike Ellison, Kevin Nixon, et al - came onto the stage to talk, and show clips of the work done, it ended with Michael, Detroit Motown legend Martha Reeves, and a young, up and coming female singer, coming together to sing the aptly-titled 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough.'
The project has sparked considerable interest since Michael began conducting interviews with everyone from Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson to Mayor Mike Duggan and Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert. Gilbert, the billionaire Detroit native who also owns the Cleveland Cavaliers, has been very impressed with Michael, and what he is trying to do with "Gotta Keep Dreamin : Detroit's 21st Century Renaissance": "Look, to have somebody of his stature reach out and tell the story, the way it is and not just tell ruin porn, showing the same six burned-out shops, I like that,” says Gilbert. “He’s going to show what happened, where this city was and then all the great things happening.”
As for the documentary itself, Detroit has, over the years, had many a reputation to either fully acknowledge, and embrace, or bow down to, and try and lay certain demons to rest. So, when Michael was asked whether filming in the "nicer" areas of Detroit would overshadow the all-to-well-known "rougher" parts of the very same city, he answers adamantly: "I don’t think anybody’s ever going to sweep the blight and issues of security under the carpet,” he says. “But the reality is that the people who have come through, who have also used up a lot of valuable time, wind up going and covering only the tough stuff about the city. There are great things going on now.”
So, aside from showing where Detroit came from, how it got back on its own two feet, and just how far it has come, "Gotta Keep Dreamin: Detroit’s 21st Century Renaissance" will highlight the corporate commitments and community initiatives made by civic leaders, heads of industry, and Detroit’s unsung heroes; each playing integral roles in driving the city’s comeback.
Having held a small press conference in Detroit this past October 1st, 2015, Michael told those journalists gathered the in's and out's of the making of this documentary, of his reasons for initially taking it on, and his reasons for still sticking with it some three years on.
Updates on the progress of the film
"It was around Summer of 2012 when we came to Detroit to start filming and here we are over 3 years later sharing our footage with the people whose stories we've documented and whose journeys we've followed. The cool thing about this event on Friday is that we will be filming it, as a culmination of our own journey, bringing the stories full circle, and we intend to include some of this new footage in the final edit of the film."
"So as soon as we get back to LA we are in crunch time to finalize and deliver to the film festival circuit, starting with Sundance. Our producing partner is 2929 Entertainment and Todd Wagner and Ben Cosgrove have been great champions of the project so we are confident they will also being supporting it all the way."
Vision for sharing it nationally and internationally
"It's a intention and mission, now after all the contributions and investments made, to ensure this story reaches the greatest possible audience around the globe. Luckily, I'm able to tour the planet every year with my concerts and releasing new music, so I will make sure to be talking to all the media outlets and seeking out the best partners in every territory to get the film exhibited. The stories in this film are personal, but the theme is universal."
Key partnerships that have been forged
"One of the most important messages we have learned and want to keep sharing is that it takes an army of unified efforts to really effectuate sustainable growth. Seeing collaborations between people like Dan Gilbert and the Ilitch family, or among the Big 3, is at the core of what we've started referring to as the Spirit of Detroit. We met so many successful people who have connections to Detroit, from John Varvatos who opened up a new store here, to Francis Ford Coppola who was given his birth name here, to Jerry Bruckheimer who brings his blockbuster movies to film here."
"The more of these people who invest here, the more opportunity they create for the next generation. This is another reason why it was so important to us to hold this event in alignment with the Detroit Homecoming, because we believe in the same mission of highlighting the opportunities to invest in Detroit and encouraging those commitments."
Special Philanthropic Announcement!
"One of our partners, GM and the GM Foundation, came forward with the idea to present on our behalf a $100k donation to Veronika Scott's Empowerment Plan. Veronika has of course been one of the most inspiring and impressive stories we have followed and she is a hero for us all. The work she does is critical and she is paving a path of leadership for others to rise to. Veronika will be part of the panel at the Fox event on Friday and Mark Reuss will present the check to her on behalf of GM."
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
Michael Bolton @ Twitter