WHAT: Produced by Creative Breed, Generation Startup is a feature-length documentary that follows six recent college graduates working at startups in Detroit over a 17-month period. All of the characters in the film are Fellows or alumni of Venture for America, an organization that helps aspiring entrepreneurs launch their careers.
WHO: The film was directed by Cynthia Wade, who won an Oscar for the documentary short Freeheld in 2008, and Cheryl Miller Houser, the founder of Creative Breed.
WHY WE CARE: This documentary gets real about what goes into working at a startup, and it’s not glamorous. While Labib is putting in 18-hour days at Mason, a company that designs, builds, and manufactures mobile phones and tablets for corporate customers, to the dismay of his immigrant parents, who want him to take a high-paying job with a stable corporation, Max, the founder and CEO of the real estate management app Castle, lives not at all comfortably in one of his company’s investments—a rundown house in the midst of renovations and in dire need of proper insulation and good plumbing. Like the rest of the smart, motivated subjects featured in Generation Startup, these two are making big sacrifices in the hopes of building something new, exciting and, hopefully, financially rewarding. Especially admirable are the efforts of the film’s two female subjects—Kate, a coder at Detroit Labs, and Dextina, who assesses the viability of investments for Rock Ventures—to give women and other minorities opportunities to network and succeed in business. While this film is about entrepreneurism, you might be surprised at how invested you become in the personal stories of its participants.
Generation Startup opens on September 23 at New York City’s IFC Center, September 29 at Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Los Angeles and October 7 at the Detroit Institute of Arts’ Detroit Film Theatre.