pressroom Upcoming Films
Close to Home
Tuesday, October 27, 2009, at 9 P.M. (check local listings)
FRONTLINE CHRONICLES THE IMPACT OF THE RECESSION ON
As the U.S. unemployment rate hits a 25-year high and the Dow Jones Industrial Average hits a six-year low, award-winning FRONTLINE producer Ofra Bikel (The Hugo Chavez Show, The Case for Innocence) chronicles the recession's impact on one unlikely American neighborhood-New York's Upper East Side.
In Close to Home, airing Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 9 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings), Bikel decides to set up her cameras in the hair salon she's patronized for 20 years. It's an intimate space where she has come to know well the surprisingly diverse clientele-from athletic trainers and housewives to high-end bankers, actors and opera singers. Despite expectations that this neighborhood is a secure bastion of privilege, these days, when clients get in the chair, they offer a window into the country in recession: Some are broke, others don't have a plan, and they're all looking to commiserate.
Deborah Boles, the owner and sole hairdresser at Deborah Hair Designs, started the business in 1985. "I wanted a place where people can go and they can feel comfortable," she says. "They know they belong here." But it's all on the line with the current downturn-clients come less often; some skip coloring or skip the trim-and as Deborah watches neighboring businesses go under, she wonders how long she can survive.
Barbara, Deborah's sister, helps out at the salon, but she has been struggling with her own economic crisis. After buying a home in Florida at the height of the market, she now has a subprime mortgage that she can no longer afford. Unable to pay the exorbitant interest, she has had to take in four tenants, each with their own stories of foreclosure and unemployment.
Close to Home is a FRONTLINE co-production with Ofra Bikel Productions. The writer, producer and director is Ofra Bikel. FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation. FRONTLINE is closed-captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers and described for people who are blind or visually impaired by the Media Access Group at WGBH. FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of the WGBH Educational Foundation. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is David Fanning.