Exit Zero (Christine Walley & Chris Boebel, 2016) is a feature-length documentary film that tells a personal story of the lasting social and environmental impacts of “deindustrialization” and the key role it has played in expanding class inequalities in the United States.
Interweaving home movies, found footage, and a first person narrative, the film traces the stories of multiple generations of producer Christine Walley’s family in the once-thriving steel mill community of Southeast Chicago. From the turn-of-the-century experience of immigrants who worked in Chicago’s mammoth industries to the labor struggles of the 1930s to the seemingly unfathomable closure of the steel mills in the 1980s and 90s, these family stories convey a history that serves as a microcosm of the broader national experience of deindustrialization and its economic and environmental aftermath.
The husband and wife filmmaking team (Chris Boebel, director/editor/co-writer and Christine Walley, producer/co-writer), use family stories to offer an unusually intimate look at the changing class landscape of the United States and the uncertain future faced by working people.
Chris Boebel is manager of MIT Video’s post-production unit and a producer of documentary and other video programs at MIT Video Productions, part of the MIT Libraries. He has produced and directed two feature films, Red Betsy and Containment: Life After Three Mile Island, as well as a number of short films and television programs. He is an alumnus of New York University’s Graduate Film Program in the Tisch School of the Arts.
Hosted by Professor David Tamés, Department of Art + Design,
College of Arts, Media and Design, Northeastern University.