Director Jeffrey Blitz (the Oscar®-nominated "Spellbound"; Emmy-®winner for "The Office") crisscrossed the country to see what happened to the not-always-lucky few whose dreams came true, learning that winners' lives can be turned upside down when they are forced to grapple with their new status in the world. "People who suddenly come into a tremendous amount of money without any preparation are left struggling to come up with a new way to live," observes Blitz. "They become unmoored. And the world around them closes in. Finding your place on the spectrum of self-interest to altruism is one of the discoveries that the winners have to make."
Among the people profiled in LUCKY are:
Quang, a Vietnamese immigrant who is one of eight Nebraska plant workers who won $22 million each.
James, a loner who divided his last $3 between food for his cats and a Powerball ticket, and ended up winning more than $5 million.
Kristine and Steve, a middle-class couple from Skillman, NJ who won $110 million in the Pennsylvania Lottery, then decided to leave town for a new,
more affluent community in the South.
Robert, a Berkeley mathematician who understands better than most the near-impossibility of winning, yet played and won $22 million.
Buddy, a local hero after saving a boy from a burning building, whose $16 million lottery payoff seemed a just reward - until his life came apart at the seams.
Verna, a Delaware woman who spends up to a $100 a day on the lottery and still, after 30 years, believes she'll soon land the big win.
Along with insightful portraits of winners and losers, LUCKY provides fascinating factoids about the lottery industry, such as the fact that lotteries paid for the building of Jamestown, the first American settlement, as well as for Washington, D.C. Despite the 2008 economic meltdown, 22 states subsequently reported record lottery receipts, with the industry taking in $62 billion annually, well more than the money Americans spent on movies and sporting events combined. Moreover, two percent of all lottery winnings are never claimed, including a 2002 Powerball prize worth $51.7 million.
Director Jeffrey Blitz's first film, "Spellbound," received an Oscar ®nomination in the Documentary Feature category and debuted on CINEMAX in 2003. His second film, "Rocket Science," screened at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Dramatic Directing Award. Blitz has also directed episodes of the hit comedy series "The Office," winning an Emmy® for his efforts in 2009. Producer Sean Welch entered the film industry as a production assistant on the movies "Crimson Tide" and "Face/Off" before graduating to producer for "Spellbound" and "Rocket Science." Welch and Blitz are currently working on a documentary about DC Comics.
LUCKY was directed by Jeffrey Blitz; produced by Sean Welch, Marc Turtletaub, Peter Saraf and Jeb Brody; executive produced by Rebecca Morton, Liz Manne and
Catherine Tait; edited by Yana Gorskaya; music by Eef Barzelay.
Summer Series 2010