Art professor’s award-winning film examines two cities: Dubai and Detroit

Sabine Gruffat, an assistant professor of art, received the Golden Badger Award at the Wisconsin Film Festival for her film, “I Have Always Been a Dreamer.”

“I Have Always Been A Dreamer” is a documentary travelogue and film portrait of two cities: one in an apparently unstoppable state of growth, another in what seems to be a permanent state of decline. Filmed over four years, Gruffat’s documentary juxtaposes Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Detroit, Michigan, and looks beneath the obvious contrasts and discovers intriguing parallels.

The film serves as a visual documentation of these two cities’ political, cultural and economic changes while tracing the ways each city’s development is tied to technologies of communication, production, labor and consumption.

The film, which had its world premier at the Wisconsin Film Festival, explores the cities’ landscapes through various modes of transport, and includes interviews with local historians, scholars and artists. For upcoming screenings and a film trailer, visit

Gruffat is a digital media artist who received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Her films and videos have screened at festivals worldwide.

For more on her work, visit