Back to All Events

Friday Forum: 12th and Clairmount

  • Fenimore Art Museum 5798 State Highway 80 Cooperstown, NY, 13326 United States (map)

Post-screening discussion

with filmmakers Brian Kaufman and Kathy Kieliszewski

12th and Clairmount powerfully documents the 1967 Detroit riots—by all accounts the fiercest of the civil disturbances that occurred in America during the “long hot summer of ’67.” Using a massive range of archival newsreels, home movies, contemporary photographs, artwork, and interviews recorded on the spot, the film’s director, Brian Kaufman, creates a vivid portrait of a city on the edge of harrowing change.  For several years, Detroit had been losing residents and industry to the suburbs. To counteract this, the city’s mayor, Jerome P. Cavanaugh, had lured large sums of federal funding for downtown investment and urban renewal.  But underneath this promise lay entrenched economic inequality and racial tensions.  Set off by a police raid on an after-hours party, the events of the ensuing five days changed the course of American history.  The film depicts all this grippingly, and raises broader questions about what it means to ‘riot.’ Fifty years on, these questions continue to resonate with our cultural dialogue.  (Brian Kaufman, Kathy Kieliszewski, and Bill McGraw, 2017, 82 minutes)


Brian Kaufman

Brian Kaufman

BRIAN KAUFMAN is Executive Video Producer at the Detroit Free Press, where he has worked for over a decade to bridge the gap between traditional video journalism and documentary film. Kaufman’s work spans a broad range, from news-driven shorts to feature films on social and environmental issues. He has won three Emmy awards and been nominated for Nature and Wildlife Cinematography. In 2017, he received two national Edward R. Murrow awards and was formerly named Detroit’s Young Journalist of the Year by the Society of Professional Journalists. His career began with a Visual Journalism degree at Brooks Institute of Photography and a job at the Naples Daily News in Florida. Kaufman teaches video storytelling at the Maine Media Workshops and has coached workshops for the National Press Photographers Association.


KATHY KIELISZEWSKI is a four-time National Emmy Award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker. She was also part of the team that won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism for a series of multimedia stories that examined the difficulties and unintended consequences of fulfilling President Trump's pledge to construct a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Her most recent films include 12th and Clairmount, and the feature-length documentary The Wall, an outgrowth of the Pulitzer Prize-winning multimedia story. Kieliszewski also co-founded the Freep Film Festival, a documentary film festival in Detroit. She oversees the video and photographic efforts of a staff of 12 photographers and editors at the Detroit Free Press. Before joining the Free Press as an editor, she spent a decade as a photojournalist.

Earlier Event: November 9
Friday Forum: Driving While Black
Later Event: November 9
Friday Forum: I Pay for Your Story