Subjects: Sociology, Children, Youth and Family, Socioeconomics
AMERICAN WINTER is a timely documentary that follows the personal stories of eight families struggling in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.Filmed over the winter of 2011-12, the film reveals the devastating effects of the mortgage meltdown, high unemployment, the health care crisis, and budget cuts to the social safety net through the eyes of families in crisis.Woven into the film are interviews with economic experts, policy analysts, religious leaders, and social workers. Ultimately, AMERICAN WINTER presents a powerful portrait of the consequences of rising poverty, the decline of the middle class, and the fracturing of the American Dream.
WINNER - Sidney Award for Excellence in Journalism for the Common Good - 2013
WINNER - Bending Toward Justice Award From Senator Jeff Merkley - 2013
BEST OF FESTIVAL - Workers Unite Film Festival - 2013
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE - 36th Portland International Film Festival - 2013
Reviews / Quotes:
"Using a mix of hard facts and personal stories, American Winter is too compelling to ignore." - Indiewire Review "American Winter" A Devastating Portrait Of The Erosion Of The Middle Class by Kevin Jagernauth
"Wrenching" - Washington Post by Elaine Weiss
"Finally, a movie has arrived that shows the precariousness of the US economy for the majority of Americans, refusing to distinguish between a deserving and non-deserving poor" - Greg Kaufman, The Nation, This Week in Poverty: 'A Place at the Table' and 'American Winter'
"...A very vivid snapshot of what life was like for many formerly middle-class families. Families that, amid the deepest valley of the economic downturn, were having trouble keeping it all together." - Kai Ryssdal, Marketplace (American Public Media)
"Powerful and timely" - NBC's In Plain Sight
"A thoughtful and confrontational exploration of poverty" - P. L. Thomas, Daily Kos
"An intimate portrait of real American families struggling to make ends meet" - Ben Bamsey, HLNtv
Highly Recommended by Video Librarian:
The twin blows of job losses and advancing poverty hit several Portland, OR, families hard in filmmaker Joe Gantz’s American Winter, a melancholy look at paycheck-to-paycheck despair and reduced circumstances in the wake of 2008's economic crash. Cameras follow several representative families in weakening income brackets, whose breadwinners have lost jobs to overseas, suffered cuts in benefits, and are now left slaving for the minimum wage—when they can find jobs at all. One woman is newly widowed, experiencing her first winter with her son in a homeless shelter. Another household has to choose between paying the mortgage or utilities bills (a good neighbor allows them to run an electrical cord all the way to his property). A man whose son has Down syndrome faces foreclosure on a homestead that he says brings the boy stability. Another couple, turned out of their own place, must move back in with parents. While some social-service organizations offer relief, one pastor interviewed here declares that he has never seen so many new needy with so few safety nets. Occasional intertitles offer statistics on corporate job-killing practices and the pernicious decay of the middle-class, but policy-makers and apologists for Wall Street are conspicuous by their absence. A powerful, timely documentary, this is highly recommended. Aud: C, P. (C. Cassady)