• Some of the native Detroiters of I Have Always Been a Dreamer

Sabine Gruffat’s I Have Always Been a Dreamer (a choice selection of this year’s Chicago Underground Film Festival, which we cover in this week’s issue) is less a documentary than a city symphony—though perhaps it’s closer to the mark to call it a city double concerto. The movie compares the recent development of Dubai with that of Detroit; and while Gruffat’s sensitive to issues like labor relations, crime, and sustainable design, she’s clearly more interested in creating images than social analysis. It’s an eyeful, containing some of the most assured sound design and Steadicam work I’ve encountered in a low-budget feature since Ben Russell’s great Let Each One Go Where He May (not coincidentally, Russell assisted with some of the sound recording). The other day, I talked to Gruffat about her working methods and what she learned in making the film. Our conversation follows the jump.