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'As Goes Janesville' screening is Oct. 7

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Jim Leute
September 18, 2012

— Area residents will get a one-day jump on the nation in seeing a documentary that profiles Janesville and efforts to survive and fix a wounded economy.

"As Goes Janesville" is the result of three years of filming and editing by Brad Lichtenstein and Milwaukee-based 371 Productions.

It will be screened for free at Parker High School in Janesville on Sunday, Oct. 7, one day before it begins airing nationally on the PBS series "Independent Lens."

For the film, Lichtenstein set out to create a documentary that shows how a community and its residents deal with the loss of their largest employer and try to reinvent themselves for better days.

The 85-minute film tells the story through the lives of five residents.

-- Angie Hodges of Beloit hoped to follow in the steps of her relatives by retiring from the Janesville General Motors plant, but it closed six years short of her expected retirement. To provide for her son, she left him behind and transferred to a GM plant in Indiana.

-- Cindy Deegan lost her 13-year job when Alcoa stopped making tire rims for GM trucks. With no option for transfer, Deegan went back to school at Blackhawk Technical College to pursue a degree as a medical lab technician.

-- Gayle Listenbee went from a job at GM paying $28 an hour to the Rock County Job Center, where after repeated dead ends the best job she could find was one that pays $7.25 per hour. She, too, took a transfer to Fort Wayne.

-- Tim Cullen was co-chairman on the task force trying to bring GM back to Janesville. When that failed, he turned his attention to the state Senate and became the only Democrat to win on Election Day 2010.

-- Mary Willmer is a local bank president determined to help Janesville. She helped put together Rock County 5.0, an initiative designed to market the area to prospective businesses.

The film is a co-production between 371 Productions, Kartemquin Films and Independent Television Service. It has won several awards at film festivals around the country.



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