The Intersection: Documentary Producer Talks Growing Up In Detroit

Laura Weber Davis, WDET

A documentary film crew is driving around the country in Elvis Presley’s Rolls Royce for a film called “Promised Land”. This week they stopped in Detroit as they use Presley’s life as an allegory for the rise and decline of American ideology.

Chris Frierson is a producer with the film, and a native of Lansing. Frierson spent his summers in Detroit with family in the 1980s and ‘90s. He recalls walking around the city as a child, asking his parents why nothing was open. They explained to him that “this used to be this, and this used to be this,” he says.  

I walked into the Whole Foods a couple years ago and I felt like Oliver Twist,” says Frierson. “Like, ‘What is going on?’”

As he talks to people in his travels, says Frierson, he feels a sense of loneliness and lack of community. He says he thinks there was a greater sense of togetherness in the fifties.

To me, it’s a bit different because I’m from here,” says Frierson. “I can’t purely look at [Detroit] from a tourist’s perspective. But it looks like other parts of the country that are suffering.”

To hear the rest of Frierson’s conversation on Detroit Today, click on the audio player above.

Image credit: Laura Weber Davis, WDET

Filed Under: #djc

This post is a part of Detroit Journalism Cooperative.

The DJC is a partnership of six media outlets focused on telling critical stories of Detroit and creating engagement opportunities on-air, online and in the community. View the partners work at

Support for this project comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative and the Ford Foundation.



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