Detroit Film Theatre

FREEP FILM FESTIVAL: Packard, The Last Shift (at Fillmore Detroit)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

6:30 p.m. doors, 8 pm. screening, Fillmore Detroit

(2014—Directed by Brian Kaufman)

Packard Plant: The Last Shift chronicles the storied past and unknown future of the iconic Detroit structure, which began with the auto business in 1903 and has more recently become Ground Zero for Rust Belt blight. Since 2010, Free Press photographer Brian Kaufman has been documenting the building, which runs in a long 40-acre strip on Detroit's east side. Architects and historians talk with admiration about the Albert Kahn-designed structures that produced every part of the luxury automobile that one historian calls "the Escalade of its day." The building's decline over the past half-century is shown through tenants who used the Packard for storage and light industry, legal wrangling with the City of Detroit over its ownership, techno music pioneers who held historic raves there in the 1990s and a new owner who wants to use what's left of it. The film uses historic footage, photographs and new images by Kaufman, who finds surprising patches of beauty and hope in the decay. (Approximately 70 min.)

More info: The world premiere of Packard: The Last Shift will be held on opening night of the Freep Film Festival at the Fillmore Detroit. Doors and VIP reception at 6:30 p.m.; film at 8 p.m. $10 general admission. $25 for premium reserved VIP seats, which includes access to reception from 6:30-8 p.m. An after-film discussion moderated by Free Press business columnist Tom Walsh will include filmmaker Kaufman and new Packard Plant owner Fernando Palazuelo. Tickets available at, and 1-800-745-3000. Avoid ticket surcharges by purchasing at the Fillmore Detroit or St. Andrew’s Hall box offices.