"As Goes Janesville" Documentary

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JANESVILLE (WIFR) -- The city of Janesville has been getting a lot of press lately given that it's vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s hometown. But now it's getting even more attention because of an award-winning movie that's premiering about the city and it's people. 23 News reporter Meghan Dwyer has more on the documentary "As Goes Janesville."

Even before Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, tried to end collective bargaining, a filmmaker from Milwaukee was trying to tell the story of America’s shrinking middle class. So when he started following recently laid off workers from Janesville’s shuttered GM plant, he had no idea he'd end up in the middle of a political firestorm.

"We were able to buy a home and buy a car and college education."

The movie profiles five people from Janesville and Beloit, laid off workers, a democrat running for state senate, and a local banker. It tells the story of what happened when bankrupt General Motors closed its plant and how local leaders desperately tried to save their local economy. The director says it's a political film, but it's not a partisan one.

"There are a lot of families, just like the families in our film, and those people are still struggling, and the middle class is still struggling. And I’m hoping that this film we will learn from it and understand that we have to overcome our ideological differences if we're going to repair all the problems with our economy."

If you want to watch the movie it premieres tonight on PBS at 9:00 p.m. It will also play on Saturday at the Chicago International Film Festival if you're downtown this weekend.

Janesville was chosen because it represents so many cities across America, where people are really struggling. The director said if he could capture what was happening in Janesville, the story would ring true for thousands of Americans dealing with the same problems.

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