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American Winter Film Viewing at CareOregon

If you were one of the staff members who attended the showing of American Winter on June 11, you already know what a powerful story it tells. If you didn’t join us, check out the film’s website at

American Winter
From left to right Ryan Fisher (Invest in Oregon),
Martin Taylor (CareOregon) and Joe and
Harry Fisher (American Winter filmmakers).

This outstanding documentary by brothers Joe and Harry Gantz follows eight Oregon families as they navigate the deep waters of the recent recession. The stories illustrate loss—loss of jobs, homes, food, utilities and in one case, a life partner. The families cope with a world in which they suddenly go from “normal” family life, to daily crises. Parents go hungry to save food for their children. A couple borrows water and links to electricity from a kindly neighbor to enable them to maintain the basic necessities of life. One mother searches for shelter for her son, while trying to help him deal with the sudden loss of his father. 

We were lucky enough to have the filmmakers join us last Friday to discuss their effort to raise awareness of this social crisis by screening the film around the country. “Since HBO aired the film, we’ve had 400 requests for screenings,” said Joe Gantz. Senator Merkley invited three of the films subjects to testify about the failure of the American Dream before the Senate Economic Policy Committee.

The Gantz brothers’ goal is not only to raise money to benefit those in need (although the screening is often accompanied by a fund raiser). They also hope to change economic policies that leave those in need without help or hope. Joe said businesses and the stock market are making record breaking profits now, but the individuals affected by the recession continue to suffer. The greatest need is to ensure jobs. “Nick Fish says it so clearly,” according to Joe. “It’s cheaper to help families than let them fall through the cracks.”

While the film has national implications, it hits very close to home, as all subjects live in our local communities. Those who attended the screening recognized the neighborhoods, and – if not the individuals – the stories they had to tell. They mirrored the challenges our members face every day.

Martin Taylor, Director of Public Policy and Member Centricity, is looking for ways CareOregon can help get the word out about this film, and we hope to share additional opportunities to see the film in the near future. As opportunities arise, we’ll let you know.

View the film trailer of American Winter: