'As Goes Janesville' Documents The Real Life Stories Of Laid Off GM Employees

The Julia Ideson Public Library downtown will be the venue tonight for the screening of As Goes Janesville. A documentary about the Wisconsin town right after General Motors closed its doors there. Director Brad Lichtenstein will be there for a Q&A tonight.

As Goes Janesville follows the lives of the real people who were affected by the closing of the GM plant in Janesville Wisconsin. People like Gayle Listenbee who had to move to Fort Wayne, Indiana to work for their GM plant. But only after she searched and searched for another job locally so she could stay with her husband and two daughters. This is her speaking in the documentary.

“I don’t see any jobs that’s payin over $7.25. I can’t go back to minimum wage, how can you live? If I could just stay here I would be so much happier.”

It’s people like Listenbee, the growing political war with unions in Wisconsin and how Janesville was finding its new identity that Director Brad Lichtenstein tried to capture over the three years he spent filming this documentary.

“I started out wanting to tell a story about our economic recovery and I picked Janesvillle, Wisconsin because it’s kind of anywhere in America and people are going through this in towns and cities all over the country where a major employer leaves, in this case General Motors and the community is forced to reinvent and people are forced to reinvent.”

Lichtenstein has been challenged in the Q&A’s after the screening of this film. But he also feels the film challenges the viewers like at his event in Sheboygan, Wisconsin last night.

“It was a great discussion because nobody could stand on their ideological positions. Everybody had to engage with each other. There were labor people in the room, business people, my panel was conservative business people and we all started getting engaged in “How do we really fix an economy?””

Lichtenstein is excited to hear what Houstonians will have to offer tonight. The screening begins at 6pm at the Julia Ideson Public Library downtown, 550 McKinney St.

Bio photo of Edel Howlin

Edel Howlin

Producer, Houston Matters

Edel is a producer on Houston Matters and reporter for PBS’s Newshour Weekend...