What to watch on TV. I saw a partial screening of this film followed by a panel discussion at the Chicago Cultural Center recently and it was excellent. If you’re from the South Side you may be aware of the history of the closing of the steel industry in Chicago. If you grew up in the suburbs (like me) or somewhere else maybe not. This is an informative and well done film.
When: See below.
Where: WTTW11, Prime
Southeast Chicago used to be one of the largest steel-producing regions in the world. Beginning in the late 19th century, the steel mills along Lake Michigan employed hundreds of thousands of people: immigrants from every region of the world; workers of all ethnicities; people searching for a better life.
But that all began to change in the 1980’s. One by one, the mills closed, leaving a region devastated by a crumbling economy and a toxic environment left behind by heavy industry. A forgotten region. Even the exit ramp here is numbered Zero.
The Exit Zero Project seeks to recapture the stories of a region traumatized by de-industrialization, and to look towards a future of economic opportunity and environmental justice for Southeast Chicago residents.
When the steel mills began closing in Southeast Chicago, residents could feel the American Dream slipping away. Decades later, the loss of the steel industry has left permanent scars. Exit Zero: An Industrial Family Story tracks multiple generations of the family of one of the filmmakers.
It explores how generations of immigrants built lives in this industrial community, dealt with the fallout of the mills’ collapse, and faced the environmental devastation that remains.
Shot over ten years, the film interweaves home movies, found footage, and first-person narration to offer an intimate look at one working class family’s experience with growing economic inequality in the United States.
Mon, Sep 3 at 9:00 pm on WTTW11
Tue, Sep 4 at 2:00 pm on WTTW Prime
Thu, Sep 6 at 2:30 am on WTTW11