Bad Axe, a small town of about 3,000 people, two hours north of Detroit in Michigan’s thumb, mirrors many other rural, conservative-leaning towns across the Midwest. When COVID hit Michigan, and businesses shut down, Bad Axe was no different. The difference, however, was Asian-Mexican American filmmaker David Siev who returned to his family’s restaurant, Rachel’s Food and Spirits, and began documenting their struggles of keeping the business afloat while combatting racial tensions and a new wave of Asian-American hate. The result was “Bad Axe,” the documentary.

Bad Axe documentary

Standing outside Rachel’s Food and Spirits, a local restaurant owned by the Siev family in Bad Axe, Michigan. The restaurant has become the focal point of director David Siev’s new documentary, also titled “Bad Axe.” | Photo by One Detroit

After its premiere at the 2022 SXSW film festival and winning a Critics Choice award, “Bad Axe” is now set to hit the big box theaters across America on November 18, 2022. The film is in talks for an Academy Award nomination this year too.

Following the film’s breakout success, One Detroit Senior Producer Bill Kubota visited Bad Axe to sit down with Siev and his family for a look back at the creation of the documentary and how far it’s come. Plus, they discuss the message they hope viewers take away from the film, why Siev wanted to tell his family’s story and the importance of diverse representation in stories of rural America.

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