This timely and informative documentary chronicles the history of America's mortgage finance system, from its origins in the 1930s, when the federal government first made available long-term, fixed-rate loans to new American homeowners, to its current state of crisis, after an excess of risky mortgage financing led to the system's collapse, which in turn triggered a wider economic recession.
WE ALL FALL DOWN features dozens of interviews and commentary from a wide variety of industry experts and Wall Street insiders-including mortgage brokers, appraisers, bankers, lawyers, analysts, sellers and buyers, and economics scholars-who explain in terms clearly understandable to the lay viewer such concepts as the "subprime" mortgage market, the financial alchemy of "securitization" whereby Wall Street banks packaged and resold mortgage loans as securities that could be bought and sold like stocks, and how the mortgage crisis led to a sudden halt to other types of lending to individuals and businesses.
Among the many authorities interviewed in the film are Paul Muolo, publisher of National Mortgage News and author of Chain of Blame: How Wall Street Caused the Mortgage and Credit Crisis; Nouriel Roubini, NYU Professor of Economics and International Business; Mark Wiseman, Director of Foreclosure Prevention; Til Schuermann of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY; Guy Cecala, President of Inside Mortage Finance; and Richard Sylla, NYU professor of the History of Financial Institutions and Markets.
Filmed over a twelve-month period, from Rochester, NY and Cleveland, to Seattle, Los Angeles and San Diego, WE ALL FALL DOWN also shows how an out-of-control "mortgage machine" has today led to home foreclosures nationwide, featuring interviews with families who have been devastated, as loan defaults and evictions spread from the poor to middle-class sectors of the populace, in turn creating millions of abandoned and disintegrating properties in neighborhoods and cities throughout the U.S. Their emotionally moving stories reveal the all-too-real personal consequences for Americans caught up in this financial spiral.
WE ALL FALL DOWN concludes with an analysis of the economic and political impact of the collapse of the mortgage finance system on American society, now and likely for decades to come. America today is truly at a crossroads and the question is how and whether it will be able to rebuild a devastated economy.
Narrated by Paul Sorvino
“Timely... an informative primer... Offering a clear, concise, and at times emotionally wrenching explanation of a national tragedy, this is recommended.” —F. Swietek, Video Librarian
Spring 2009 CINE Golden Eagle
2009 Telly Awards in four categories (Silver in History/Biography)
57th (2009) Columbus International Film + Video Festival Chris Award
2009 Boston Film Festival
2009 Vancouver Film Festival
“A concise documentary portrait... Illustrated with graphs, charts and archival footage, the film is a steal for educational purposes.” —Rob Nelson, Variety
“Stands out as one of the clearest and most in-depth examinations of the financial crisis to date, providing a historical and insider perspective that has been absent from most media reports. It is invaluable for anyone who wants to truly understand how we got into this mess. Highly recommended.” —Kristin Aguilera, Editor, Financial History Magazine
“Damning in [its] criticism of the financial industry and the lack of government regulation, showing scene after scene of the carnage wrought by defaults and evictions on once-proud neighborhoods... accessible to wide audiences... highly recommended for all libraries.” —Library Journal
“Excellent... provides the background to understand how the financial crisis became a world-wide economic crisis... More significantly, its shows the ‘human dimension’ of the crisis... a very useful documentary.” —Leonardo On-Line Reviews
“Timely as front-page news... This eye-opening documentary helps clarify the current crisis.” —Booklist
“This film is for everyone who saw their retirement funds and their home values drop but don’t understand how such a massive meltdown could have happened. This film takes you on the trip down the rabbit hole to see all the pieces of the puzzle, broken down into 10 chapters, allowing for discussion in between... Highly Recommended.” —Educational Media Reviews Online