Freep Film Festival this weekend showcases Detroit and Michigan-themed documentaries

(WXYZ) - In 1967, Detroit was burning.

The riots that year were devastating for our city. Many of the issues that led to the civil unrest are still relevant today.

Reporter Gary Gilson and his photographer spent five months in Detroit in late 1968 and early 1969 shooting film for a documentary called "Do You Think a Job is the Answer" that aired nationally on public television.

"It was one of the richest experiences of my life and it was the first documentary I ever made," said Gilson. 

Life in the aftermath of the 1967 riots wasn't easy for African Americans even as U.S. auto companies were producing nearly 9 million vehicles.

"They needed every warm body they could find to hire to help make cars," said Gilson.  

But, many African Americans questioned if automotive jobs would really help solve the problem of racism and unemployment in the city. The documentary delves into that topic, with interviews with disgruntled workers, activists and school officials. 

Gilson believes the documentary only aired once in March of 1969.

It will be shown again Friday night during the Detroit Free Press film festival at the DIA . 

The Freep Film Festival will be showcasing Detroit and Michigan themed documentaries this weekend. 

For more details on the Freep Film Festival, go here:


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