All-access Kwame Kilpatrick documentary comes out Friday

Two years after Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to prison, a documentary on him is finally ready.

In one scene from "KMK: A Documentary of Kwame Kilpatrick", the viewer is riding along with him after leaving prison.

"I'm calling my wife, first phone call, first phone call," Kilpatrick said. "Wow. I can't believe it, until we get out of Jackson. 

"'Hey baby, what's going on?'"

A whole lot of folks watched as Kilpatrick left Jackson Prison back in 2011. But only two men were in the former mayor's vehicle with their cameras rolling.

"The chopper is on us, so we got the eye in the sky," Kilpatrick said during his ride in the documentary. "We're rolling down I-94, this is very interesting, this understated release. The choppers and all the press corps were out there. Were they broadcasting live out there?"

The men behind the documentary are Tim and Tobias Smith, a father and son filmmaking team. 

"The project came together by us being granted access, complete access, to the family by Carolyn Kilpatrick," Tobias said.

 "We basically started a journey with him," said Tim Smith.

The filmmakers say the Kilpatricks felt the former mayor didn't get a fair shake in the media. But the family wasn't allowed to put their own spin on the project - not even Ayanna Kilpatrick.

"We told her she couldn't have any input in it," Tim said. "I mean, that's his sister. there's no way she could be unbiased."

Vickie Thomas of WWJ-AM 950 and FOX 2's M.L. Elrick watched the documentary last week, seeing first-hand how close the Smiths got to Kwame Kilpatrick and his family.

In one scene, Kilpatrick's father Bernard spoke about encouraging Kwame's political career.

"Since I was in politics, I thought that was a good move for him," he said. "Because he had all of the attributes of leadership."

The documentary essentially accepts the Kilpatrick and Cheeks family's world view, but the filmmakers say they are not trying to change anyone's mind.

"We can't answer if he's guilty or not guilty," Tim said. "That's what the film is about. it's for people to decide."

Elrick: "If Mr. Kilpatrick sees this movie, what do you think his critique will be?"

"He's probably going to cry. tears of joy. he's going to cry," Tim said.

"I think he's going to be very, very grateful. and he probably will cry," Tobias added.

The Smiths say they recognize how controversial the Kilpatrick subject is with Detroiters.

"It's like people either love Kwame, or they hate Kwame, there's nothing in the middle," Tim said.

"I'm in the middle," Elrick said.

"You're in the movie," Tim said.

Elrick won a Pulitzer Prize with partner Jim Schaefer for The Detroit Free Press in 2009 for his coverage of Kilpatrick's scandals.

Elrick was one of the many people interviewed as part of the project. But to hear what he had to say, you'll have to buy a ticket .

"KMK: A Documentary of Kwame Kilpatrick" premiers Friday at 7 p.m. at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History. 

For directions, visit http://thewright.org/ or call 313-494-5800. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased at http://kwamemovie.brownpaperticket.com/

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