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Made in America is issue for all of us, film directors say

Two film directors are attempting to change the way Americans think when purchasing products–from sneakers and cars to fruits and vegetables in a supermarket.
/ Source: MSNBC TV

Two film directors are attempting to change the way Americans think when purchasing products–from sneakers and cars to fruits and vegetables in a supermarket.

Rodrigo Almaraz assembles ovens at the Whirlpool manufacturing plant in Cleveland, Tenn., on Aug. 21, 2013. (Photo by Chris Berry/Reuters)

New Balance, the athletic shoe company, is one of few remaining manufacturers still selling footwear made or assembled in the United States.

Filmmakers Vincent Vittorio and Nathaniel McGill hope to change the way Americans think about buying products—from New Balance sneakers and cars to supermarket produce—that is manufactured in the US with their new documentary, “American Made Movie.”

“We’re right on the threshold, but it’s a good spot to start from with saying, ‘Hey, we can do this. If the American consumer wakes up to this, we can have more of what we want.’ That’s America,” McGill said Wednesday during an Afternoon Mo Joe web-exclusive interview.

Their newest project shares the story of small, medium, and large companies to find out how manufacturers compete in an ever-growing global economy.

“It’s a movie that has the power to change the country,” McGill said. “While that seems like a big statement, it really is true. When you boil it down, it becomes a personal issue for all of us.”

The directors said they hope to convey the relationship each American has with both the products made in the country and the workers who labor to create the commodities bought every day. Optimistically, though, more people are becoming aware of buying local products, such as organic food and fruits and vegetables from farmers’ markets.

Some entrepreneurs employ local workers at smaller companies. Brandi Temple, founder of an online children’s clothing store, told Afternoon Mo Joe earlier this year that she hired 175 people from her community of Lexington, N.C., for operations and manufacturing.

Watch: Facebook fuels kiddie clothing business to the tune of $20 million

“There might not be that old factory with 3,000 workers like there used to be, but there might be 30, 40 smaller companies that are employing a lot of people in one area,” McGill said. “That’s what we hope to see.”

The make-up of the American labor movement continues to diversify. Last month there was a rebound in public approval of labor unions with 51% supporting them, that’s up 10 percentage points from its record low during the summer of 2011, according to a recent Pew Research Center for the People and the Press poll.

“People feel good about our country and about supporting things that are made here,” Vittorio said during the interview. “We have to stick together on a local level, on a state level, and then the national level. If we can look at that and come together, I think we really could change things and turn things around in this country.”

“American Made Movie” is set for release on Aug. 30 in Atlanta and Chicago, followed by premieres in New York and Los Angeles on Sept. 6.

Be sure to watch other web-exclusive interviews and roundtable discussions right here in the Afternoon Mo Joe section of the website.

(Watch the Afternoon Mo Joe interview):