Stranded by the State documentary spotlights impact of Illinois budget crisis

February 06, 2017

Stranded by the State—a two-part documentary special presented by Illinois Public Media focusing on the long-term toll the Illinois budget crisis has had on everyday people across the state—will begin broadcasting on public television stations February 14, the day before Governor Bruce Rauner’s state budget address.

Illinois has not passed a budget in over a year, and this historic stalemate has proven to be the longest period that any state in the nation has operated without a budget since the Great Depression. Directed, edited, and produced by Kartemquin associate Liz Kaar, Stranded by the State was originally conceived as a multi-part web series, which launched in November 2016.

"There's been plenty of coverage of the politics behind the budget stalemate in Springfield, but not enough on the impact to families and communities,” said Moss Bresnahan, CEO and president of Illinois Public Media. “As Illinois starts its twentieth month without a full budget, this special reveals what the crisis means for ordinary citizens all around the state."

“The Illinois budget impasse is unprecedented. Now a new question emerges—not just when or if a budget will finally pass— but how long will it take to reverse the damage done?” said Kaar, who hopes to take Stranded by the State on a screening and discussion tour across Illinois in the spring. “We want to give communities a chance to comment and have a productive discussion on how to move forward. The stories we presented show that the repercussions of the budget impasse will be felt for a very long time.”

Using the cinéma vérité style favored by Kartemquin—the Chicago-based non-profit documentary production collaborative behind fifty years of classic documentaries, such as Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters—Stranded by the State offers intimate and empathetic insight into the many ways the budget crisis is affecting Illinois families.

For one particular Heyworth family, it means less support from a home visitation program for at-risk mothers to teach prenatal care and early childhood development. And for Charleston, it means mounting concerns about Eastern Illinois University, in particular tuition increases and a declining student population—which is of growing concern for local business, as well.

Broadcast in two 30-minute parts, the documentary focuses on six different aspects of the crisis in total: Higher education, at-risk youth, homelessness, seniors, adult literacy, and early childhood development. The documentary explores how the situation in Illinois connects to long-term trends of austerity affecting the country at large and demonstrates how such measures can ultimately cost taxpayers more in the long run.

Find out more at www.StrandedIllinois.com and follow the hashtag #StrandedIL.

BROADCAST SCHEDULE:

Contact your local public television station for further information about airdates and future broadcasts.

  • Urbana-Champaign (WILL-TV), Presenting Station: Tuesday, February 14, 7-8PM CT
  • Charleston (WEIU-TV): Tuesday, February 14, 7-8PM CT
  • Macomb / Quincy / Springfield (WMEC-TV / WQEC-TV / WSEC-TV): Thursday, February 16, 8-9PM CT
  • Carbondale (WSIU-TV): Saturday, February 18, 6-7PM
  • Peoria (WTVP-TV): Friday, February 17, 7:30PM (Part 1); Friday, February 24, 7:30PM (Part 2)
  • Chicago (WTTW-TV): Thursday, February 23, 9-10PM
  • Quad Cities (WQPT-TV): Thursday, February 16, 6:30PM (Part 1); Thursday, February 23, 6:30PM (Part 2)
  • Chicago (WYCC-TV): Thursday, February 16, 7:30PM (Part 1); Thursday, February 23, 7:30PM (Part 2)

This series was produced with funding from the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund, a project of The Voqal Fund administered by Chicago Filmmakers.