Kate Geiger spent 24 years working at the General Motors plant in Moraine. After the plant shut down on Dec. 23, 2008, Geiger enrolled at Sinclair Community College the following spring.
“It’s been the most amazing challenge,” Geiger, 45, said about being a student.
In June 2008, Geiger, along with thousands of GM-Moraine employees, were told the plant would be shut down in six months.
That’s when filmmakers Julia Reichart and Steven Bognar began spending time outside of the plant.
“A couple from Yellow Springs were interviewing people as they were leaving the plant and they wanted to start making a documentary about it,” Geiger said.
Geiger and some of her fellow employees decided to help the filmmakers with interviews and information. Geiger, who was six years from retirement, said some employees were hesitant to speak to Reichart and Bognar.
“We saw that it was a serious documentary and it wasn’t meant to exploit us,” she said. “We felt like people needed to talk to them because they needed to tell our story.”
On Feb. 2, “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” was nominated for Best Documentary Short by the Academy Awards.
Geiger said the project compiled 150 hours of footage that had to be cut into 40 minutes. The film premiered at the Schuster Center on Aug. 19 and Geiger said the event was unbelievable.
“I was just completely blown away,” Geiger said about her first thoughts after viewing the documentary. “It is just mindboggling that (Reichart and Bognar) can just put so much passion through those clips in the sequence that they did.”
Geiger said the situation behind the film was unfortuante, but it’s great the film was nominated for an Oscar. Geiger said she would be attending the Academy Awards on March 7 with both filmmakers.
“It means (the situation) is making it into the mainstream,” Geiger said. “At first, we thought the movie would be made for us as a living photo album. But what we saw is that (the film) became a statement.”
Geiger, a Visual Communication major at Sinclair, described her situation as a Sinclair student as bittersweet.
“It’s been good and bad,” she said. “It’s been really, really hard … There have been times where I have been so frustrated I’ve been brought to tears.”
But, Geiger said her Sinclair experience has been a blessing after the closing of the Moraine plant.
“My life has become very exciting,” she said. “It’s challenging and I feel alive. I’m excited for the first time ever about my future.”