The Al Jazeera America cable news network and the Chicago-based documentary film company Kartemquin Films (responsible for such acclaimed documentaries as Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, The Trials of Muhammad Ali and the soon-to-be released documentary about the late film critic Roger Ebert, Life Itself, among many others), announced today that they are currently jointly producing a documentary series for the network, about the hard realities of low income living in America.
To begin airing in early 2015, the six part series, which is currently in production and will be called Hard Earned, will explore the lives of five American families in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, and two in the Chicago area, all striving to keep food on the table and their dignity intact ,despite the reality of high living expenses and low wages.
According to Shannon High-Bassalik, who is the senior V.P. of documentaries and programs at Al Jazeera, the series will “explore the economic realities that many Americans face and will go beyond the politics and policy discussions and immerses the viewer in the true day-to-day struggles individuals and families face."
The series’ executive producer and Kartemquin co-founder Gordon Quinn said that “In the last year, we’ve seen low-wage work move to the forefront of the national conversation. This shift gives us an opportunity to take the conversation a step further and look at the consequences of low-wage work on employees, their families, and their communities.”
Co –executive producer Steve James added, “low wage jobs are the fastest growing sector of employment in the American economy. Yet the challenges of living on eight, ten or even 15 dollars an hour are still invisible to many Americans.”
Along with Quinn and James, the series is being executive produced by Kartemquin’s Justine Nagan.