A documentary web series and two-part television broadcast chronicling the human impact of the ongoing Illinois budget crisis.
Illinois has not passed a real budget in over a year, the first state to do so since the Great Depression. The ongoing fight over the budget between Governor Bruce Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly has been covered widely, but what does this lingering crisis look like in people’s day-to-day lives? Using Kartemquin’s cinéma vérité style, the series follows the families, workers and students living through the de facto budget cuts, showing the ways it deteriorates the fabric of Illinois communities. Each episode will focus on a different aspect of the crisis— from higher education to social services to housing— as well as who is benefiting from the crisis and what kinds of solutions could ultimately solve it. The series incorporates data connecting the situation in Illinois to long-term trends of austerity affecting the country at large, and how it ultimately costs taxpayers more in the long run. The series is co-production between In These Times and Kartemquin Films, two veteran Chicago media organizations with a long history of covering social justice issues. Funding was provided by the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund. Web series: 8 x 10 minute episodes. TV broadcast: 2 X 30 minute episodes.