MAST awards a 2019 Micro-docs Winner distinction to Community Patrol, a film by Andrew James. The film will be premiering in April with The Atlantic, and will go live here at MAST Small Screenings shortly thereafter. In the meantime, we present this trailer.

It’s been widely reported that Detroit is making a comeback, but long-term residents of Detroit’s mostly black neighborhoods aren’t seeing much benefit. Crime, lack of opportunity and infrastructure problems still persist. Community Patrol explores neighborhood self-policing through the eyes of Minister Malik Shabazz, a long-time Detroit activist and community organizer. Determined that more black men don’t end up in jail or killed, the minister confronts drug offenders directly rather than reporting them to the police.

I was in Detroit shooting my feature film Street Fighting Men (, when I met Minister Malik Shabazz, a prominent figure in the Detroit activist community, and co-founder of the Detroit 300. We hit it off and I began to spend time filming with him. The culmination of that work is what you see in Community Patrol. I spent a lot of time with Malik before this night, and felt fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to capture the fascinating exchange that occurs at the end of the film. Community Patrol screened at many film festivals and won a few awards along the way. It will make it’s internet premiere on The Atlantic Selects on April 8, and in the months following will also be available on Aeon and NoBudge. It is my hope that it will reach a wide audience, and provide insight into what many people are dealing with in post-industrial American cities like Detroit where public services have been hollowed out and people are stepping up to protect their homes, families and neighbors. I also hope that viewers who enjoy Community Patrol will check out Street Fighting Men, which was created in the same style and tone, but follows three other characters (although Malik does make an appearance).

Street Fighting Men, which celebrates dogged persistence in the face of overwhelming adversity, takes a deep, observational dive into the lives of three African American men: retired cop Jack Rabbit, who continues to patrol the mean streets as a citizen; Deris, who has made bad choices in the past but wants to further his education and serve as a role model for his baby daughter; and Luke, who labors mightily as he rehabs a dilapidated house while putting together a meager living. Shot over three years in the neighborhoods of Detroit, Street Fighting Men is a story of hard work, faith and manhood in a community left to fend for itself. The film received production support from the Sundance Institute and the San Francisco Film Society, and will be distributed by First Run Features this summer. For updates and more information, like us on Facebook @StreetFightingMenFilm.

If you’re curious what I’m up to next, you can find me at, or on Instagram/twitter @andrewjamesfilm. I’m currently in pre-production on a new short nonfiction film, as well as a narrative feature and look forward to sharing details about those projects very soon.

Winner - Best Mini Doc, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

Winner - Special Jury Prize, Independent Film Festival Boston (IFFBoston)

Winner - Made in Michigan Award, Vidlings & Tapeheads

Official Selection - True/False Film Festival

Official Selection - Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

Official Selection - Salem Film Festival

Official Selection - Ashland Independent Film Festival

Official Selection - Freep Film Festival

Official Selection - Bozeman Doc Series

Official Selection - Independent Film Festival Boston (IFFBoston)

Official Selection - San Francisco Documentary Festival (SF DocFest)

Official Selection - Vidlings and Tapeheads

Official Selection - Traverse City Film Festival

Official Selection - Camden International Film Festival

Official Selection - Hell's Half Mile Film Series

Official Selection - BendFilm Festival

Official Selection - Charlotte Film Festival

Official Selection - Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival

Official Selection - Durango Independent Film Festival

Community Patrol is supported by the Sundance Institute, the San Francisco Film Society and Film Independent.