I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A DREAMER TRAILER from Sabine Gruffat on Vimeo.


I Have Always Been A Dreamer

16mm film transferred to HD video
Bluray and HDCAM, surround and stereo mix
TRT : 78 minutes

Directed/ Produced by:
Sabine Gruffat

Sabine Gruffat
Sound Design:
Sabine Gruffat

Includes Interviews with:
Jerry Herron, George Karyotidis, Mitch Cope, Constance Bodurow, Freda G. Sampson, Colin Branson, Co-lab Creative, Matt Kelson, Douglas Crawford, Toufic Araman

Additional Camera and Sound Recording:
Bill Brown
Ben Russell

Sound Mix:
Paul Geluso

Nathan Halverson
Stephen Vitiello

I Have Always Been A Dreamer is an essay film about globalization and urban ecology using the examples of two cities in contrasting states of development: Dubai, UAE and Detroit, U.S.A. Within the context of a boom and bust economy, the film questions the collective ideologies that shape the physical landscape and impact local communities.

Though these cities represent two different economic eras (Fordist and Post-Fordist), both cities vividly illustrate the effects of economic monocultures and the arbitrary consequences of geopolitical advantage. The film serves as a visual documentation of these two cities as indexes of political, cultural and economic change while tracing the ways each city’s development is tied to technologies of communication, production, labor, and consumption.

The portion of the film concerning Dubai depicts a postmodern city in a continual process of being built, and posits Dubai as virtual in the sense that it is artificial, performed and shaped by an increasingly service-based economy driven by tourism. By contrast, the portion of the film depicting Detroit reveals a once shining example of a Fordist city presently in ruins and in the process of being vacated, beleaguered by a failing industrial-based economy vacillating between ideologies of self-preservation and destruction.

The film was shot in Detroit, MI and Dubai, UAE, exploring their landscape through various modes of transport, and includes interviews with local historians, scholars, and artists. The film was produced between 2007 and 2012.


April 21 2012, World Premiere, Wisconsin Film Festival, Madison, WI.
June 2 2012, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, MI.
Chicago Underground Film Festival, Chicago, IL.
June 10 2012, Northwest Film Forum, Seattle, WA.
July, 2012, Wisconsin Public Television, Director's Cut,Madison, WI.
September 21-23, Imaging Detroit,Metropolitamn Observatory for Digital Culture, Detroit, MI.
September 27-30th, Dallas VideoFest, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX.
October 12-21st, Antimatter Film Festival, Victoria, BC.
November 1-11th, Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival (CPH:DOX), Copenhagen, DK.
November 16th, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY.

February 22nd and 23rd, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), Documentary Fortnight 2013, New York, NY.
March 23rd, The Top Secret Space, Gainesville, Florida.
March 27 and 29, Centre Pompidou, Cinéma du Réel, Paris, France.
April 14 and 16th, Bradford International Film Festival, National Media Museum, Bradford, UK.
April 12-18th, Athens international Film and Video Festival, Athens, OH.
April 20th, Indie Grits Film Festival, Columbia, SC.
April 23rd, Varsity Theater, Ackland Film Forum, Chapel Hill, NC.
May 31-June 5, 16th CinemAmbiente Environmental Film Festival, Torino, Italy.
November 6, Viennale, Vienna, Austria.

3rd Ecofalante Environmental Film Festival, Sao Paulo, Brasil.
Cinema Planeta, Cuernavaca, MX.
Docucity, Milan, IT.
August 23, Dearest Chicago...,The Nightingale Theater, Chicago, IL.
CineMigrante, Buenos Aires, AR.

Michael; Pattison, Scoped, idfilm.net, April 8, 2013.
Stephen Dalton, I Have Always Been A Dreamer, Eye For Film, April 12, 2013.
Stephen Dalton, Multicultural Cinema at the Bradford International Film Festival, The National, April, 16, 2013.
M.Faust (Artvoice feature), I Have Always Been A Dreamer, Art Voice,Nov. 15, 2012. Read the Artvoice review
Ben Sachs (Reader Pick), Our guide to the Chicago Underground Film Festival, Chicago Reader, May 30, 2012.
Read the Chicago Reader Review
Ben Sachs, Learning through seeing: an interview with experimental documentarian Sabine Gruffat, The Bleader (blog),
May 31, 2012.
Read Interview
Jesse Malmed reviews the movie on Cine-File.
Read Review
Choice Cuts, The A.V. Club's Wisconsin Film Festival Planner, April 12, 2012.
Download The Onion article
WiFilmFest2012, Dane 101 blog, April 13, 2012.
Download the Dane 101 interview
Wisconsin Film Festival 2012: I Have Always Been a Dreamer, Isthmus The Daily Page, April 20, 2012.
Download The Isthmus Daily Page Interview
Sabine Gruffat debuts new documentary, ArtsEtc., Badger Herald, Madison, WI.
Download The Badger Herald Interview
Interview with Filmmaker Sabine Gruffat, Director's Cut, Wisconsin Public Television, Madison, WI.