San Francisco resident Austin Chu and his brother, Brian, will premiere their documentary, “The Recess Ends,” at the Victoria Theatre in the Mission district on Wednesday. The brothers traveled for five months [across the country] to document personal stories involving the greatest economic meltdown since the Great Depression.
Why did you make this film? In December I got laid off from my job. I’ve always had this idea of driving through [the country]. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to capture history in its making. I convinced my brother to quit his job. Two weeks later we left.
What was one moment you witnessed during your travels that significantly affected the way you look at the world? When we visited Youngstown, Ohio. Seeing an entire city abandoned with vacant lots and empty businesses really showed the devastation of America, and the dying American dream. How can a country like the United States allow a school to be abandoned and pillaged?
What were some lessons you learned from making this film? I learned that Americans are resilient people. Our character is being tested and we are going to come out of this chaos a different kind of people.
Do you think people’s attitudes have changed? In my opinion, if we stay complacent this will happen again. If we are smart about how we go through this, we will have an opportunity to party again.