From Maria Shiver’s groundbreaking multi-platform project “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink,” PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK: THE LIFE & TIMES OF KATRINA GILBERT tells the moving story of a year in the life of one mother whose daily struggles illuminate the challenges faced by more than 42 million American women and the 28 million children who depend on them. Directed and produced by Shari Cookson and Nick Doob (HBO’s Emmy®-winning “The Memory Loss Tapes”) and executive produced by Peabody and Emmy® winner Maria Shriver (HBO’s “The Alzheimer’s Project”) and HBO’s Sheila Nevins, the film is the unvarnished account of a single mom struggling to get ahead, but constantly getting knocked back by a system that almost seems designed to see her fail.
PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK debuts MONDAY, MARCH 17 (9:00-10:15 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, and will be available free online on hbo.com, ShriverReport.org and YouTube, March 17-24.
“We all know Katrina Gilbert – she’s our friend, our sister, our daughter, struggling to make her way in the world,” says Shriver. “Understanding what challenges she faces, and seeing how optimistic she is in the face of such challenges, is the key to building woman’s economic empowerment.”
Filmed over the course of one year in Chattanooga, Tenn., PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK follows Katrina Gilbert, a 30-year-old mother of three who works as a certified nursing assistant in an extended-care facility while striving to address her own health-care issues. Overworked, underpaid, uninsured and lacking support, she chooses daily between purchasing her own medication and paying for the needs of her three children, which often leaves her struggling to make ends meet.
Despite these obstacles, Gilbert works to better her circumstances, applying for college courses that could raise her income. But circumstances often leave her slipping backwards, wondering if she will ever truly be able to get ahead.
Gilbert never expected to be a single mother of three young children, living paycheck to paycheck. But after leaving her husband Jeremy, whose addiction to painkillers destroyed their marriage and gutted their finances, she found herself living in a trailer with seven-year-old Brooklynn, five-year-old Lydia and three-year-old Trent. Jeremy has since overcome his addiction, but is out of work and lives two hours away from the family, so she serves as their sole breadwinner and primary caregiver. She regularly travels up to four hours so that Jeremy can see and help care for their kids and she can maximize her working hours.
Katrina Gilbert’s two saving graces are the Chambliss Center, a subsidized facility that provides affordable round-the-clock daycare for mostly poor single mothers, and a budding romance with Chris, a single father of four facing similar circumstances.
Executive produced by Maria Shriver, PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK: THE LIFE & TIMES OF KATRINA GILBERT is a central element of her groundbreaking multi-platform project “The Shriver Report: A Women’s Nation Pushing Back from the Brink.” Since 2009, Shriver has produced an award-winning series of reports that chronicle and explore seismic shifts in the American culture and society affecting women today.
Released last month, “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink” examines the rates of financial insecurity among American women and the children who depend on them, assessing the impact on the nation’s institutions and economic future, while promoting modern solutions to help women strengthen their financial status.
Produced in partnership with the Center for American Progress, it has sparked debate and attention around the globe, including significant discussion in President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address. Katrina Gilbert and Julie Kass, another Shriver Report participant, stood with the president as he signed a presidential executive order raising the minimum wage for federal workers this month. This latest Shriver Report can be read and downloaded at www.shriverreport.org.
Maria Shriver is a six-time New York Times bestselling author and NBC News Special Anchor. She previously executive produced the award-winning four-part HBO series “The Alzheimer’s Project” and appeared in one of “The Alzheimer’s Project” films, “Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am?,” which was based on her book “What’s Happening to Grandpa?” She also executive produced the documentary “American Idealist” for PBS.
Shari Cookson and Nick Doob’s previous HBO credits include the Emmy®-winning “The Memory Loss Tapes” (part of “The Alzheimer’s Project”), “The Weight of the Nation for Kids: The Great Cafeteria Takeover,” “All Aboard! Rosie’s Family Cruise,” “Living Dolls: The Making of a Child Beauty Queen” and “Elaine Stritch: At Liberty.”
PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK: THE LIFE & TIMES OF KATRINA GILBERT was directed and produced by Shari Cookson and Nick Doob; executive producers, Sheila Nevins and Maria Shriver; senior producer, Nancy Abraham; producer, Sascha Weiss; edited by Charlton McMillan.
Photo Credit: Barbara Kinney