The documentary story of the day is also the political story of the day. A scene in Brad Lichtenstein and Nicole Docta’s As Goes Janesville has been making waves across the media since it was released Thursday evening, as part of a longer demo for the soon to be completed film.
The clip in question shows Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin discussing strategy with Dianne Hendricks, a top donor, and Mary Willmer-Sheedy, a Janesville bank executive who is one of the principal characters of As Goes Janesville. Asked how he plans to deal with the State’s unions, Walker says he intends to follow a “divide and conquer" strategy as a "first step," implying he would next go after private-sector unions. The remarks recast Walker’s controversial 2011 budget adjustment bill as part of a wider attack on public and private unions throughout the state - something he has repeatedly denied.
Governor Walker has since been recalled, and faces election in less than a month. Coming in the midst of a contentious campaign, the clip has been rapidly picking up heat. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on the clip Thursday evening, and since then major media outlets, including the Washington Post, The Nation, Associated Press, Salon, Forbes, Huffington Post and TIME, have followed suit.
A co-production of Kartemquin Films and Milwaukee-based 371 Productions, the film follows 3 years in the life of workers, business leaders and politicians of Janesville, Wisconsin, a town trying to recover in the wake of its GM plant’s closure. As Goes Janesville joins such films as Taylor Chain, The Last Pullman Car and Where’s I.W. Abel, as part of Kartemquin’s long tradition of documenting the struggles of working people.
The film will be on PBS Independent Lens later in 2012, and playing festivals before then. Milwaukee residents can attend what promises to be an exciting "sneak peek" screening on May 16th.