St Joseph Shrine Historical Documentary Film

Campaign Created by: Joe Pelletier

The funds from this campaign will be received by Joe Pelletier.

Goal: USD $10,000
Raised: USD $ 3,539
What is the project?

To mark the 150th anniversary of the dedication of the St. Joseph Shrine church, we’re producing a first-class feature length documentary to chronicle the rich and largely unknown history of this “pearl of the diocese.” The film is scheduled to premiere in 2024!

An indispensable part of this legacy are the many souls who have built and sustained this house of God for the past century and a half. From its earliest days, the St. Joseph parish was a diverse congregation and its pews were filled weekly with everyone from factory workers and farmers to renowned doctors and Detroit aldermen. Many of these "living stones" have been forgotten to time; we will strive here to "wake the dead.” Their legacy lives on in all those who pass through the doors of St. Joseph Shrine and, with this film, we hope to preserve their memory. 

Please join us in bringing this important project to reality!

How you can help?

Creating a high-quality historical documentary demands significant resources, including equipment, research, archival licensing, and various post-production expenses. That's why we turn to you to be the pillars that uphold this endeavor.

Production Expenses

                Archival Assets:
                Old photographs are the lifeblood of the historical documentary. While the St. Joseph parish itself has many priceless archival materials, we will need to license photographs from the various archives around Detroit, in addition to privately-held collections, in order to best tell this story.

                Music is one of the most important tools in the arsenal of the documentary filmmaker. We will look to license high-quality recordings of music that would have been familiar to the people of that time and place, in addition to specific pieces that accompanied significant events in the church’s history.

                A story lives or dies by its teller. We will seek to hire a world-class narrator to carry us through this incredible history. In addition to a main narration, the story includes first-person narratives which will be performed by voiceover actors in the accents and styles of speech appropriate to the historical characters.

                Distribution & Promotion:
                The story of the St. Joseph Catholic parish is a story of Detroit. We will work to showcase the film to as wide an audience as possible and bring attention to the ongoing restoration efforts being undertaken at the shrine.

                All donors to the project will be included in the film's credits and invited to the official premiere in 2024 (exact date TBD).

                *All funds that exceed what is needed for this project will be given to the St. Joseph Shrine Historic Renewal campaign.

                Who is making the film?

                Joe Pelletier (Director and Editor) is an award-winning filmmaker with nearly ten years of experience in film production, editing, and motion design. In addition to freelance projects, he worked for several years as part of the video production team for the Archdiocese of Detroit where he produced a range of films including documentaries, original narratives, and campaign promotions. He is currently the director of motion design for Openlight Media and is a parishioner of St. Joseph Shrine. 

                John Coates (Cinematographer) is a co-founder of Making Shapes Media and acts as the head of production. With over eight years of experience in the video production industry, he has worked both as a freelance cinematographer and as part of several in-studio production teams. He has worked on projects for companies including Ford, General Motors, Quicken Loans, PBS, and many others. While working in the commercial industry, he also works on personal projects spread across a variety of genres. His short documentary “You Got Everything, Honey” has screened in eight film festivals across the country, and his short experimental narrative film “Cross” was awarded “Best in Show” at the Lansing Art Gallery Collegiate Art Exhibition in 2019.

                Daniel Egan (Executive Producer) is an accomplished business executive, a passionate Detroiter, and a dedicated member of St. Joseph Shrine parish. During the past decade, he has overseen multiple highly successful video productions for both non-profit and commercial use.

                Canon Jean-Baptiste Commins (Executive Producer) is a priest of the Institute of Christ the King and hails from Versailles in France. He has been the rector of St. Joseph Shrine parish since 2021.


                Feel free to email the production team with any questions, comments or ideas:


                Regarding the film's premiere
                October 24, 2023
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                Dear patrons of "Living Stones,"

                Thank you so much for your generous support of this project. Your magnanimity has allowed us to begin licensing many incredible photos of the St. Joseph church from archives across the state and we are incredibly excited to "bring them to life" and share them with you all.

                Due to a continually scaling production, and the desire to make the best of this once-in-a-generation opportunity, we find ourselves needing to push back the premiere of the film to early next year. While it frustrates us to not make the November 16 anniversary deadline, we do not want to rush through certain elements of post-production that are vital to creating a first-class and historically accurate documentary.

                Please know that our actions here do not mean we will be taking our foot off the gas pedal. Not even a little bit. Production will continue on and we will be working daily to bring this story to life. As it stands, over an hour of the film has been cut with images and sound and we hope to have a complete first pass done before Thanksgiving.

                We appreciate your understanding and patience in the face of this change, and are so excited to share the finished film with you all. Information will be forthcoming regarding a new premiere date.

                Please keep the production in your prayers as we approach the finish line and thank you once again for your support!

                The team at "Living Stones" 

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