The Stinson sardine cannery in Gouldsboro, Maine shut down production, leaving hundreds of lifelong factory employees jobless. When entrepreneur Antonio Bussone introduces plans to convert the cannery into a state-of-the-art lobster processing plant, a few obstinate and suspicious fishermen attempt to block him from receiving necessary federal funds. Antonio’s plan would put the laid off employees back to work, and would create a local alternative to the Canadian processing plants the lobstermen ship their product to. If the state of Maine claims it’s “Open For Business” why is opening a business such a challenge?
Shining a light on a tireless work ethic from an aging labour force, the persistence of an independent business man and the bureaucratic red tape of the federal grant system, Downeast is a poignant and gripping look at the complex task of creating new jobs in America.
Synopsis courtesy of Lynne Crocker, Hot Docs
"The entire movie is an elegy."
- The Boston Globe
" All those daunting economic numbers that tabulate how many Americans are unemployed and how many factory jobs have been lost in the last 30 years can seem abstract until you run into a documentary like Downeast... It’s a tale of hope, frustration and disappointment that reminds us that behind all those big numbers are real human beings." - The New York Times
"Redmon and Sabin carefully tease apart the insidious process of American deindustrialization, and by the end of the film the threads they unravel reveal how the free market can choke like a noose."
- Village Voice
"The film is poetic in its depiction of the men and women who handle the crustaceans, and wistful in its portrayal of U.S. manufacturing in sharp decline."
- Filmmaker Magazine