As Goes Janesville
"Political thriller!" - NY Times
"Not to be missed!" - Baltimore Sun
"Must-See!" - Indiewire
A co-production of 371 Productions (Almost Home), Kartemquin Films (Hoop Dreams), and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), As Goes Janesville reports from ground zero of America's recession-ridden heartland the city of Janesville, Wisconsin.
When bankrupt GM shuts down the community's century-old plant, forcing workers to leave their families in search of decent jobs, local business leaders seize the moment to woo new companies with the promise of lower wages, reduced regulation and tax breaks. Their powerful alliance with newly-elected Republican governor Scott Walker starts with an "open for business" manifesto but soon morphs into a "divide and conquer" anti-union crusade that rips apart the state, triggers an historic recall election, and thrusts Wisconsin's civil war onto front pages worldwide.
A cautionary tale for a polarized country falling short of the American Dream, the film follows three years in the lives of laid off workers struggling to survive, business leaders trying to reinvent their local economy, and a state senator caught in the middle, trying to negotiate a peace for his warring state while protecting workers' rights. As Goes Janesville, so goes America.
The film also inspired a transmedia component of the film. Just launched in the App Store this Monday, February 4th, 2013, bizVizz is a corporate accountability mobile app that tells users how much tax corporations pay, how much they receive in government subsidies, and to whom they give their campaign dollars.
BRAD LICHENSTEIN is an award-winning filmmaker and president of Wisconsin-based 371 Productions, a media and technology company that produces social issue documentaries, public engagement campaigns, technology projects, and more. Before making his own films, Brad associate produced FRONTLINE's Peabody award-winning presidential election year special, Choice '96, and Lumiere Production's PBS series, With God on Our Side: The History of the Religious Right. With Lumiere, he produced and directed André's Lives, a portrait of the "Jewish Schindler;" Safe, about domestic violence, Caught in the Crossfire, about Arab-Americans after 9/11, and the BBC/Court TV co-production of Ghosts of Attica, about the infamous 1971 prison uprising and aftermath, for which he was awarded a Dupont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Journalism. His film, Almost Home, a PBS Independent Lens documentary about people who live and work in an elder-care community, continues to be featured in workshops on aging and caregiving.
JANE MCALEVEY is famousand notoriousin the American labor movement as the hard-charging organizer who racked up a string of victories at a time when union leaders said winning wasn't possible. Her book, Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell): My Decade Fighting for the Labor Movement, published this past November by Verso, argues that "labor can be revived, but only if the movement acknowledges its mistakes and fully commits to deep organizing, participatory education, militancy, and an approach to workers and their communities that more resembles the campaigns of the 1930sin short, social movement unionism that involves raising workers' expectations (while raising hell). She is a PhD candidate at CUNY Graduate Center and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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