August 9, 2018 – “Detroit Under S.T.R.E.S.S.” is a documentary about one of the nation’s deadliest and controversial police decoy operations from nearly 50 years ago called “S.T.R.E.S.S.” (“Stop the Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets”). The film was chosen as an official selection and “Best Documentary” nominee at the second annual “I See You Awards®,” to be held on August 23-26, 2018 at Emagine Theaters, 200 North Main Street in Royal Oak.
As part of the awards lineup, “Detroit Under S.T.R.E.S.S.” will screen at 7:30 pm on Thursday, August 23, 2018, immediately followed by a question-and-answer session with David Van Wie, a Detroit native as well as the film’s producer and director.
“Detroit Under S.T.R.E.S.S.” is narrated by C. Thomas Howell (“ET,” “The Outsiders,” “The Amazing Spiderman”) and scored by Gardner Cole (“Days of Thunder,” “Coming to America,” “The Fugitive”). Since last year the film has garnered 13 awards, including:
- “Best Narration,” “Best First-Time Filmmaker,” “Best Feature Documentary,” “Best Director” and “Best of the Month – May,” 2018 Royal Wolf Film Awards
- “Best Documentary,” Gold Award, 2018 Mindfield Film Festival
- “Best Documentary,” 2018 Chandler International Film Festival
- “Director’s Choice Award,” 2018 South Texas Underground Film Festival
- “Best Documentary Feature,” 2017 Royal Starr Film Festival
- “Platinum Award,” 2017 International Independent Film Awards
- “Best of Fest,” 2017 Full Bloom Film Festival
- “Film of the Fest,” 2017 Arizona Sunburn Film Festival
- “Best Documentary Platinum Award,” 2017 Pinnacle Film Awards
The film tells the story of the Detroit Police S.T.R.E.S.S. (“Stop the Robberies. Enjoy Safe Streets”) Unit that operated from 1971-1974, sending mostly white decoy officers into mostly black neighborhoods with high crime. These decoy officers waited to be robbed or assaulted while pretending to be incapacitated senior citizens, stranded motorists, or even drunks. After the first year, Detroit became the city with the nation’s highest number of fatal shootings by police and became the number one city for police officer deaths. While officers were successful in reducing crime, they left the community feeling victimized and angry.
“In a city still reeling following the 1967 race riot rebellion, S.T.R.E.S.S. only compounded racial tensions,” noted Van Wie. “Many in the community felt these cops were acting as judge, jury and executioner with little to no supervision or accountability.”
After almost fifty years, Van Wie has finally given the public an opportunity to hear from the officers involved in S.T.R.E.S.S., as well as multiple interviews with civil rights activists who fought to disband the divisive initiative. During three years of extensive research and Freedom of Information requests for the film, Van Wie struggled with “lost police files,” interviewees conflicted about sharing their stories and even an escort out of the Detroit Public Safety Building after trying to talk to the chief of police.
“They say those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it,” said Van Wie. “We are repeating it. We are watching police and community relations deteriorate at a rapid pace. By learning from the past, we can change the future in an informed, responsible manner.”
For more information about “Detroit Under S.T.R.E.S.S.,” including the film’s trailer and extra footage, click www.detroitunderstress.com or find the film on Facebook (facebook.com/detroitunderstressmovie) and Twitter (@DetroitSTRESS).
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Felice Appell, APR, Publicist
Email: email@example.com • Phone: 602.999.4932 or 602.561.0582