Illegal Detroit scavengers use machines that help build city to tear it down

The two documentarians who made the Oscar-nominated Jesus Camp, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, have turned their cameras on Detroit, feeling it "may well be a harbinger of things to come for the rest of the country." In an excerpt of their new documentary, called Dismantling Detroit, Ewing and Grady look at a group of men who use American metal, in the form of vans and pickup trucks, to dismantle American metal, in the form of Detroit buildings.

The point is to get to scrap metal, and scavenging trade that has led to issues like power outages when thieves cut telephone lines to get to the copper. The men in Dismantling are likewise said to be engaged in illegal activity, but the results of their activity seem to be no more than one less abandoned building on the block.

Head to the The New York Times or YouTube to watch the clip and listen to a few other Detroiters' takes on what might be happening, and why. Fair warning, the video contains some explicit, Not Safe For Work language.

The documentary will premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

Share This Photo X