American Factory, the first title from President and Mrs. Obama’s Higher Ground Productions’ slate will be released globally on Netflix August 21, 2019.
American Factory directed by Academy Award(R) nominees Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert was acquired straight out of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Directing Award: U.S. Documentary.
In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.
“We are honored and thrilled that Netflix and Higher Ground are teaming up to bring American Factory to the world. Their energy and enthusiasm is infectious. We’re excited about the national and global conversations we believe this film can spark,” said Director Julia Reichert and Director/Producer Steven Bognar.
“We are drawn to stories that celebrate the human spirit through struggles and triumphs. Julia and Steve have made a remarkable film honoring the importance of dignity and security on the job as the global economy shifts and workers increasingly are caught in the middle,” said Higher Ground Productions’ Tonia Davis and Priya Swaminathan.
Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert (Directors, Producers) are Oscar(R)-nominated documentary filmmakers whose work has screened at Sundance, Telluride, SXSW and other major festivals, as well as on HBO and PBS.
Their film A Lion in the House, a co-production with ITVS, premiered at Sundance, screened on the PBS series “Independent Lens” and won a Primetime Emmy(R). Their film The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant premiered at the 2009 Telluride Film Festival, screened on HBO, and was nominated for an Academy Award(R) for Best Documentary Short in 2010.
Their films have, for the most part, told stories of rank-and-file citizens grappling with questions of agency and how to have a decent life. Reichert’s work, in particular, spanning 50 years of filmmaking, has a through-line of concern for working-class and women’s stories.
Reichert was also Oscar(R)-nominated for her documentary feature films Union Maids (1977) and Seeing Red: Stories of American Communists (1983). Her first film, Growing Up Female, was selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. She is the recipient of the 2018 IDA Career Achievement Award and a 2019 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Bognar’s films Personal Belongings, Picture Day and Gravel all premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.