Anthony Bourdain's New Project Needs Your Help

July 19, 2017

Anthony Bourdain’s currently at work on a four-part documentary for CNN with Zero Point Zero, set to air next year, on Detroit between 1955 and 1965. It's an archival project that's trying to recreate a sense of what life in the city was like in that decade, one that saw a number of vital, lasting changes to Detroit and its soul.

Bourdain first teased the project last fall, and he's incrementally released more details over the past few months. The documentary will be based on the 2015 book Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story by journalist David Maraniss. The documentary's working title is, fittingly, Detroit 1963: Once in a Great City.

Footage is hard to come by from that era, so, to that end, Bourdain and his team have taken to crowdsourcing it: Bourdain and his collaborators are asking for some footage from anyone who lived in Detroit during that era, from Motown performances to NAACP protests. They've compiled these specific asks in a handy Google Form. Should your footage be chosen for inclusion in the documentary, the team will provide high-resolution scans or footage to you for your own personal use, along with modest compensation. They'll also name you in the credits.

The aim of the documentary is to transport viewers to an era in American history wherein "people believed in the power and goodness of big corporations, had high hopes for racial parity, and looked to institutions like unions and the government to solve their problems.” A just mission—and a topic that should be treated with care. Help him out if you can, Detroiters. I look forward to seeing what comes of this project. Until 2018!

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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.