Price: $195.00

    Code: 2441

    Directed Brad Lichstenstein
    2012, 88 & 54 minute version included
    Purchase: $195 | Classroom rental: $95
    Closed Captioned

    Download the free ITVS discussion guide

    As Goes Janesville delivers a powerful multi-faceted account of the struggles and hopes of union workers, business leaders, and elected officials to rebuild their lives and their town's economy following the 2008 closure of the oldest operating General Motors plant. Meanwhile, newly elected governor Scott Walker ignites a firestorm by introducing a bill to end collective bargaining, sparking a recall election.

    The film follows laid-off workers Cindy Deegan, a factory worker going back to school to train for a non-union job that pays a third of her former wage as well as African-Americans Gayle Listenbee and Angie Hodges who both leave family behind to follow their union jobs to GM plants in other states. Meanwhile, business leader, Mary Willmer-Sheedy, co-chair of a private economic development initiative supported by the governor, woos out-of-state businesses to bring economic development to town. The film also follows democrat State senator Tim Cullen as he tries to persuade GM to return to town and eventually, flees the state to stop governor Scott Walker's anti-union initiatives.

    Both a microcosm of America's economic crisis and an exploration of the country's tug-of-war over labor relations, As Goes Janesville is a powerful and balanced illustration of the power of community, and of individuals coming together despite diverging politics to protect the American Dream.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    *Winner, Best Documentary, Oregon Independent Film Festival
    *Winner, Special Jury Award- Feature, Milwaukee Film Festival
    *Winner, Best Documentary, Columbia Gorge Film Festival
    *Winner, Best Documentary, Independent Film Quarterly Festival
    *Official Selection, Chicago Film Festival
    *Official Selection of PBS Independent Lens 2012 Season


    "An up-close view of one of the meanest and most dramatic chapters in recent American politics: the battle over collective-bargaining rights for Wisconsin state employees and the subsequent effort to recall the Republican governor, Scott Walker, from office.... a political thriller!"
    The New York Times

    "Movies often sacrifice the statistical evidence to a good story. As Goes Janesville does not."
    —Luigi Zingales, Library of Economics and Liberty

    "This intimate verité-style documentary supplies refreshingly human insight into America’s economic crisis.”
    Time Out Chicago

    " Highly Recommended . "The film does an excellent job of exhibiting how people live with risk and deal with difficult life-choices. Boldly contrary to the conventional conservative perspective on the unemployed, this documentary details the stories of people striving and sacrificing in order to complete college before their unemployment benefits run out. Equally intermixed in this film is a narrative of a Democratic Representative of Wisconsin, encompassing his campaign and his compromises during this dilemma... This documentary truly jars the audience, first by providing the story of the boom years of GM and Janesville, dating back to 1928, then shifts to frustration and despair at the closing of the plant and its fallout. The film returns to optimism with examples of local entrepreneurship, then returns to despair with its account of union busting attempts. As Goes Janesville provides utmost balance in its exploration of such volatile issues as organized labor, union busting, and benefits for the unemployed, making an ideal foundation for debate ."
    Educational Media Reviews Online

    " A provocative look at an unfolding problem with national repercussions; highly recommended for most audiences."
    Library Journal

    “This amazingly engrossing film personalizes the struggles of the laid off workers and chronicles the economic impact on Janesville and the surrounding area”.
    —Sue-Ellen Beauregard, Booklist

    " The film makers managed to be on the scene for a major political battle on union rights and the role of local governments in regional economic development yet managed to never allow this to overshadow the stories of their working class subjects/informants... A copy should be in every public library imaginable ".
    Anthropology Review Database

    "This film is not to be missed…chronicles, contextualizes and explores with incredible sensitivity as it personalizes the story of what's happening to the middle class in this country."
    Baltimore Sun

    "…Enthralling…a universal American narrative. These characters are you and I, going through the same issues, dealing with the same fears, and are thrust into the spotlight via a documentary that is as beautifully crafted and structured as any this year."

    Further Reading

    Paul Ryan outtakes (LINK)