The announcement was made this morning, American Factory, the documentary about the Chinese company Fuyao, was nominated for Best Documentary. This is the fourth nomination for Julia Reichert and the second nomination for Steve Bognar.
The film follows the opening of the Fuyao plant, which makes glass for automobiles, that reopened a former plant in Moraine. Led by its self-made billionaire owner, Chairman Cao Dewang, Fuyao brings along 200 experienced Chinese employees to oversee production and hires over 1000 locals. Working with 1,200 hours of footage — heroically edited by Lindsay Utz — Steve & Julia have amazing access to a complex economic reality that is touchingly hard on workers. Wages are low, work expectations high and there is certainly a culture clash between workers from the two nations.
Netflix acquired the non-fiction feature out of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Directing Award for U.S. Documentary.
According to a Indie wire, “The Participant Media production focuses on the dramatic culture clash when a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Following its Sundance premiere, the film impressed Barack and Michelle Obama, who launched their Netflix-partnered Higher Ground Productions last spring “to harness the power of storytelling,” as the former U.S. president described it at the time. This marks the first title from Higher Ground to premiere on the streaming service.”
“We are honored and thrilled that Netflix and Higher Ground are teaming up to bring ‘American Factory’ to the world,” said Reichert and Bognar in a statement. “Their energy and enthusiasm is infectious. We’re excited about the national and global conversations we believe this film can spark.”