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"How did you go bankrupt?" Bill asked. 

"Two ways," Mike said. "Gradually and then suddenly." 

​--The Sun Also Rises

Ernest Hemingway​

"We have used the phrase, 'the grand bargain', to describe the group of agreements that will fix the City's pension problem.  That description is entirely fitting.  In our nation, we join together in the promise and ideal of a much grander bargain...That grander bargain, enshrined in our constitution, is democracy.  It is now time to restore democracy to the people of the City of Detroit.  I urge you to participate in it.  And I hope that you will soon realize its full potential."


--Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes (retired)

November 7, 2014

About the film

The Project

Detroit - once heralded as the spirit of American manufacturing, music and democracy--descended into disrepair and insolvency over the course of several decades, culminating in the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history in 2013. With democracy suddenly suspended, the city became the epicenter of courtroom drama and backroom deals with life- altering consequences for residents, retirees, bankers and politicians. The bankruptcy also taught profound lessons on the consequences of avoiding tough decisions and on the reconciling power of compromise in a politically paralyzed world.


We Are Alive: A Grand Bargain for America’s City is the story of Detroit’s climb out of bankruptcy and towards a future of possibilities. In this real-life drama, people of all backgrounds and viewpoints found common ground in search of a solution to give Detroit a new lease on life.  A recovery for all Detroiters will define whether the grand bargain can serve as a model for urban America.



We Are Alive's News Release and Media Kit are available for download below.

For further inquiries reach out to us here.

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