I am Philip Lauri, Creative Director at Detroit Lives!, a creative studio and social brand specializing in film production.
What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
I've always been really curious about the world around me after my parents shipped me off to Japan as an exchange student when I was 15. It really did a number on my global perspective-- not just understanding the world around me, but really getting a sense of what was important to me on a human level. Priorities and stuff. I saw a completely different way of life out there in Japan, and it made me think about what I really wanted for myself. Five years later I went to Sydney for a semester to study. And in a completely different way I got to dive deeply in to another way of life out there. I returned home from Australia and decided I wanted to do a loop around the world when I graduated from Michigan State and started saving money to do it. That plan came to fruition in 2005 when I put my life in a backpack and returned to Australia in December to start the long road home. That June I ended in Africa. It was an intense 7 months, eye opening in every imaginable way. My love for storytelling was born out of those moments on the road where I realized there's a lot more to life and how to live it than what is established via cultural norms in my own country. It seemed like there was so much more to explore, and filmmaking became a great way to do it.
I admire craft, vision and steadfast commitment. There's a lot of people that I look up to that embody that in a multitude of ways: Corey Booker, Chuck Klosterman, Candy Chang, Aaron Draplin, Wolfgang Egger, Wes Anderson, Stephen Powers. Ha. I could definitely keep going.
Detroit is weird and different in so many ways. I love that. It's a place that breeds an interesting form of critical thinking given the landscape and history. And naturally, it being just very different than most cities I have encountered, it's a wonderful place to explore yourself and what's around you.
I fear at times that we have an uncoordinated vision for what we want this city to be. And that sends us down all kinds of wrong paths. We're the biggest rally city in America though; give us a goal and we'll get there.
What do you hope for Detroit in the next 20 years?
Solid, consistent leadership. A good leader listens to the people, synthesizes solutions based on those needs, and then convinces both sides that it's the right path given their expressed needs. I hope we have that kind of leader every year from now until 2034.