Posts Tagged ‘Christopher Illitch’

By: Erica Banas, Lady Reporter


In 2014, the wildly popular “Pure Michigan” tourism campaign had a budget of $13 million.  While the campaign’s future seems shaky due to the recent downsizing of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, one man is on a mission to help change people’s perception of Michigan, which when you boil it all down really translates to the way people see Detroit.

That man…is Michael Bolton.

Image Courtesy of Giphy

Image Courtesy of Giphy

No, not that one.  The real Michael Bolton.

Image Courtesy of Giphy

Image Courtesy of Giphy

Yes, everyone’s favorite no-talent ass clown is co-producing Gotta Keep Dreamin:  Detroit’s 21st Century Renaissance, a movie about all of the positive things going on in Detroit.  After having a chance to attend an exclusive preview screening of a few excerpts from the film, which also featured an interesting panel hosted by Mitch Albom (more on that in a bit), I almost regret referring to Bolton by the now infamous Office Space putdown, because this film is dripping with the kind of heart and soul not often found in “outsiders” who happen to be from one of the whitest state in the country.   (FYI:  I’m referring to Connecticut.)

I know what you’re all thinking:  “That sounds nice, but how in the hell did Mike even decide to make this movie?”  The answer is quite simple.  Initially, Bolton set out to make a film about Motown Records and the music it produced in the 1960s that heavily influenced his career.  While in the process of making that film, Bolton realized there was way more going on in the city that many people don’t know about, and that’s how the film’s focus changed, and it’s taken three-and-a-half years to get to this point.

The excerpts that were screened were filled with all the usual names that started off in Detroit and made it big:

Smokey Robinson
Aretha Franklin
Alice Cooper
Frances Ford Coppola (who proudly showed off his Shinola watch)…
Jerry Bruckheimer

…but they also focused on Veronika Scott, CEO/Founder of The Empowerment Plan and Jason Hall, co-founder of Detroit Bike City and Slow Roll, alongside the likes of Dan Gilbert and Christopher Ilitch, which is how the panels were structured as well.

Whether it was planned or not (we’re leaning toward the former), each industry titan represented in Gotta Keep Dreamin was paired up with a grassroots-type in the panel break coinciding with each film clip. 

And that’s part of the message of the film and of the Motor City itself.  Sure, the millionaires and billionaires have a lot of power on their side to cause change, but without the likes of Scott and Hall, there would simply be no spirit in Detroit.

Per Freep.com, Bolton and everyone involved with Gotta Keep Dreamin are aiming to have a final cut completed by October 14, which happens to be the deadline for submission to the Sundance Film Festival.  If the film makes the deadline and is then chosen to be screened at the famed Utah festival, Bolton will definitely earn honorary Detroiter status so much so that he could easily get away with this.

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