This is a story of faith.
Not religious faith, mind you. Not “the Cubs will one day win the World Series” kind of faith.
This is about Field of Dreams-type faith … the faith that, “If you build it, they will come.”
In this story, “you” is Brian Kaufman, a 31-year-old, Emmy Award-winning photographer and videographer for the Detroit Free Press.
“It” refers to his remarkable, nearly single-handedly produced documentary, “Packard: The Last Shift”, which premiered last month at the inaugural Freep Film Festival.
“Building” that documentary took four years … and a whole lot of faith.
The Packard Plant, the subject of Kaufman’s documentary, is a former auto manufacturing factory in Detroit that has been abandoned for years. It has become a city landmark, both in the negative (a blight on the city, a once-beautiful building wasting away) and positive (a haven for artists, a visual masterpiece). It has recently been at the center of a whole lot of news.
Kaufman arrived in Detroit in 2008, having (like most of us) never heard of the Packard plant. But he became smitten by its story and its twisted beauty.
So he went there. And he shot video. And then he went back, over and over again, with no promise that his material would ever find an audience — all while handling a fast-paced daily workload at the Free Press.
Kaufman’s commitment turned into a dynamic long-form story in 2012, but he knew he had more to offer. When the Free Press last year announced its intentions to host a film festival, it knew exactly where to turn for an original production.
Kaufman is my guest on the latest episode of the “Telling The Story” podcast. You will be amazed by his technical know-how, but you will be inspired by his perseverance, which resulted in a tremendous accomplishment: a riveting, powerful, 70-minute documentary that stemmed from one person’s vision.
Watch the trailer here, and witness Kaufman’s brilliance as a photographer, editor, and storyteller:
Matt Pearl is the author of the Telling the Story blog and podcast. Feel free to comment below or e-mail Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.