How did you come to make the film?
Well, we live in Dayton, Ohio; this is our community. Like everybody we heard the news on June 3rd of last year that this huge GM plant was going to close, and like so many others in our community we were shocked. The first reaction we had was, well, we have cameras, we're citizens with cameras, maybe we can help. We weren't sure how or what would occur, but we started shooting. We didn't really know it was going to be any kind of national story. We just thought it would be about our community, for our community. Not long after that, all these things started to happen: GM was called before Congress, the economy melted down and then GM went bankrupt. We realized it was a story we had to tell.
It was interesting to see how much pride they took in their work and how much love they had for the plant itself; the plant was like character in the film.
When we started filming we would've guessed that they liked the paycheck and making that good factory money. And we would've guessed they work hard for that money; they sacrifice their bodies for that money. But as we got to know the people we discovered that they really did love these jobs. And they took immense pride in making vehicles that, as someone says in the film, people are going to be putting their families into. That was genuinely surprising.
What do you hope folks will take away from the film?
One of the main questions we hope the film will raise is: what happens to people like the workers in this film who have lost their jobs? In a way this plant is a microcosm for what we're seeing on a national basis, which is the shrinking of the blue collar middle class, the folks who are trying to get ahead, trying to send their kids to college or just buy a car. The middle class are under attack, and that way of life is really changing in America. And we're going to have to figure out what to do about it. Families can't get by - let alone get ahead - flipping burgers or working Wal-Mart kind of jobs. That's what we see happening here in Ohio and all throughout the Midwest.