In 2009 Yellow Spring filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar made a film based on the closure of the Moraine Assembly plant, a General Motors automobile factory on December 23, 2008. Reichert and Bognar spoke to several hundred of the nearly 3,000 workers at the plant who were to lose their jobs as a result of the closure. Lacking access to film inside the plant itself, the filmmakers supplied some of the workers with flip cameras to smuggle into the factory, allowing them to acquire footage of some of the final vehicles being assembled there. The film, The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant was picked up by HBO and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) in 2009.
They just found out today their latest film, American Factory will debut this January at the Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary Competition. The category will showcase sixteen world-premiere American documentaries that illuminate the ideas, people and events that shape the present day.
American Factory / U.S.A. (Directors: Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Producers: Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert, Julie Parker Benello) — 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. World Premiere
When Steve Bognar called to share the news of the films acceptance into the festival he shared that the film is not yet finished. They submitted a rough cut for judging and crossed their fingers. They now have a pretty great reason to get the film finished, but he says there is still a lot of work to be done. And they’ll be taking some time out to go to California in December where Julia will be awarded the International Documentary Association’s Career Achievement Award for 2018 in Los Angeles.
American Factory was selected out of a record-breaking 14,259 submissions from 152 countries. Bognar said that the film was untitled until just two days ago. American Factory refers to what the Chinese call this venture and also to the inside look the film has of the business.
2019 is already shaping up to be a pretty major year for the filmmaking team as , the Museum of Modern Art and the Wexner Center for the Arts will team up to present a traveling retrospective of Julia Reichert’s films later in the year.