About The Film

DETROIT 48202: CONVERSATIONS ALONG A POSTAL ROUTE explores the rise, demise and contested resurgence of America’s “motor city” through a multi-generational choir of voices who reside in mail carrier Wendell Watkins’ work route. 


Archival footage and oral histories convey the impetus behind the African-American migration up north to push against the boundaries of racial and economic segregation. The testimonials of Wendell’s neighbors and friends shed light on the impacts of redlining and the fight for housing justice, the legacy of industrial and political disinvestment, the fragility of Black home-ownership as impacted by the mortgage and financial crisis, and a confluence of events and failed policies that resulted in Detroit’s bankruptcy.  Legendary labor organizer, General Baker, Historian Thomas Sugrue, and Urban Planner June Manning Thomas,  provide additional analysis and historical context…


Pam Sporn

director & producer

Pam Sporn is a Bronx based documentary filmmaker, educator, and activist. She loves listening to people tell stories about standing up to injustice in their own unique, subtle, and not so subtle, ways. A pioneer in bringing social issue documentary making into NYC high schools in the 1980s and 1990s,..


In 2020 Detroit 48202 won the Jury Award at the Festival Internacional de Documentales Santiago Álvarez in Memoriam in Santiago de Cuba.

Subsequently, the festival directors decided to dedicate the following festival to “The Independent Documentary of the United States,” and asked me to curate a special showcase of US documentaries.

The process was delayed a couple of years by Covd, but it is happening this March 3 – 8, 2023! For the last year my colleague Catherine Murphy and I have been working to select 14 films that resonate with Santiago Álvarez’s work and represent the history and breadth of artistic and political concerns of US documentarians.

Many of the filmmalers will be with us in Santiago de Cuba, which is super exciting.

This is all extra special because it is the 20th Anniversary of the Santiago Álvarez festival and it is the first time the festival has been dedicated to US filmmakers. What an honor.

If you are in the NYC area, I’d like to invite you to a kick-off event at the People’s Forum for our delegation’s trip to Cuba – On Friday, Feb. 3 we will show a new documentary about the life and work of Santiago Álvarez, directed by his son Osaín, and a sizzle reel of the US films to be featured at the festival. This event is also a fundraiser to help pay for printing costs associated with the festival.


There are no upcoming events.



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