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Though the recession officially ended in summer 2009, the fallout continues for some 25 million unemployed and underemployed Americans, many of whom worked their way up the corporate ladder, achieving the American Dream, only to see it slip through their fingers.
Directed by Emmy winner Marc Levin and produced by Emmy winner Daphne Pinkerson, â€śHard Time: Lost on Long Islandâ€ť follows four families on Long Island â€“ often labeled the birthplace of the post-war suburban American Dream â€“ as they struggle to find work amidst shrinking finances and declining morale. The timely film debuts Monday, July 9 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
HBO Documentary Films presents another weekly series this summer, debuting provocative new specials every Monday from June 18 through July 30. Other July films include: â€śMarina AbramoviÄ‡ The Artist Is Presentâ€ť (July 2); â€śBirders: The Central Park Effectâ€ť (July 16); â€śThe Tsunami and the Cherry Blossomâ€ť (July 16); â€śVitoâ€ť (July 23); and â€śAbout Face: Supermodels Then and Nowâ€ť (July 30).
Starting in summer 2010, when many hoped an era of recovery would begin, and continuing through the holiday season six months later, â€śHard Time: Lost on Long Islandâ€ť spotlights the challenges facing highly skilled, well-educated Long Islanders who lost their jobs. Public relations professional Anne Strauss notes, â€śBeing unemployed for two years is not just a financial loss. Itâ€™s an emotional loss. Itâ€™s a loss of friendships. People disappear. You canâ€™t socialize. It changes every facet of your life.â€ť
When both people in a couple suffer economic hardships, it can cause considerable strain on their relationship, as Heather and David Hartstein testify. â€śThings between Heather and I became really difficult,â€ť admits David.â€śI didnâ€™t know how to handle and deal and feel emotion.â€ť Compounding their crisis, the bank rejected their application for a loan modification on the same day their son tested positive for Down syndrome. They subsequently filed for bankruptcy. â€śThat was when we decidedâ€¦weâ€™re done with all this,â€ť explains Heather.
Image Courtesy of Â Hard Time: Lost on Long Island