|Business expo to feature producer of GM documentary|
|Written by Dennis HInes/Stateline News|
|Monday, 10 October 2011 15:02|
Brad Lichtenstein, an independent filmmaker, currently is working on a documentary about the closing of the General Motors plant in Janesville. Lichtenstein, the keynote speaker at the Rock Regional Business Expo, will talk about the documentary and the process of producing the project.
(Read the story in the e-edition HERE.)
BELOIT — The area’s largest business networking expo will be held in Beloit this year and is set for Oct. 20 at the Eclipse Center located at 1701 Riverside Drive in Beloit.
Area businesses and organizations will have an opportunity to showcase their products and services at the 2011 Rock Regional Business Expo.
The expo also will include a luncheon and keynote speaker Brad Lichtenstein of 371 Productions. Lichtenstein is working on a documentary about the closing of the General Motors plant in Janesville. Lichtenstein said he plans to talk about the documentary and the process of producing the project. He said he also plans to show clips of some of his past films.
The event is being hosted by Forward Janesville and the Beloit, Milton, Evansville, Edgerton and Brodhead chambers of commerce. The cost to attend is $5.
Jennie Krajeck, director of events for Forward Janesville, said about 130 vendors will be featured as part of this year’s event.
“We will have everything from restaurants serving food to insurance agencies. We will have representatives from the Van Galder Bus Company, and we will have nonprofit organizations,” Krajeck said. “There will be a good mix of businesses.”
Krajeck said the expo gives businesses and organizations an opportunity to meet with potential clients and business partners.
“It’s a good way to get out and network and show who you are,” Krajeck said. “We’re starting to get more foot traffic from the public. People walk up and didn’t mean to learn about your business or maybe they didn’t know you existed. It’s a good way to network and showcase what you have to offer.”
Lichtenstein said he is in the process of completing the General Motors documentary, which is set to air on PBS in October 2012.
“I have not made the actual film,” Lichtenstein said. “I have about 280 hours of footage stored on my hard drive.”
Lichtenstein has worked in the film industry since 1992. He said filming documentaries gives him the opportunity to meet people from various communities.
“I love what I do. I get to meet a lot of interesting people,” Lichtenstein said. “I have an excuse to knock on people’s doors and say, ‘Hey, I’m working on a documentary. I want to talk to you.’ It’s challenging for me, because I reach deeper into the story.”
Lichtenstein said he hopes the General Motors documentary will inspire other communities that have lost a major business or industry.
“Hopefully, it will help other communities solve their problems on a local level,” Lichtenstein said. “At times, it seems like politicians want to divide us instead of bringing us together. Hopefully, people will see how Janesville came together to solve its problem.”
Krajeck said she is looking forward to having Lichtenstein serve as the keynote speaker for the expo.
“We’ve all seen him around at our events talking to people,” Krajeck said. “People have no idea how cool this is. The documentary features Rock County. It’s expected to air on PBS in the fall of 2012. It will be shown at film festivals early next year. It’s so timely to have him as our keynote speaker. The documentary shows the good and the bad of the General Motors plant closing.”
The expo will include a Business After Five event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., which will feature food and drinks from local vendors.
The expo began as a Forward Janesville event, but other chambers began to participate about three years ago to make it a more regional event. Krajeck said more businesses have participated in the expo since that time.
“Since we’ve gone with the regional aspect, we’ve gained more participants,” Krajeck said. “With the event being held at the Eclipse Center this year, we hope participation will go up more. Hopefully, more Beloit businesses will participate. The more people that learn about our regional event, the more it will grow.”
For more information about the Rock Regional Business Expo, call (608) 757-3160.