The Oscar for best feature-length documentary has gone to American Factory, the first documentary released by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company.
The Netflix film is about an Ohio auto glass factory that is run by a Chinese investor. It explores many issues, including the rights of workers, globalization and automation.
Congrats to Julia and Steven, the filmmakers behind American Factory, for telling such a complex, moving story about the very human consequences of wrenching economic change. Glad to see two talented and downright good people take home the Oscar for Higher Ground’s first release. https://t.co/W4AZ68iWoY
American Factory beat out Honeyland, The Cave, The Edge of Democracy and For Sama. Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, directors of American Factory acknowledged the work of their fellow nominees on Sunday. “We are inspired by you guys,” said Reichert.
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The film is about the Fuyao plant, bought by Chinese industrialist Cao Dewang, which employs some 2,200 American and 200 Chinese workers. The film gives a close-up look at how the cultures adjust to one another. Tensions rise when the factory doesn’t initially meet production goals, culminating in a bitter fight over the right to unionize.
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“Working people have it harder and harder these days,” said Reichert. She urged workers to fight back — by uniting.
The name of the Obamas’ company, Higher Ground, flashes by in the opening credits, but the Obamas themselves aren’t mentioned anywhere. Neither is President Donald Trump.
When the film received an Oscar nomination in January, the former president tweeted: “It’s the kind of story we don’t see often enough and it’s exactly what Michelle and I hope to achieve with Higher Ground. Congrats to the incredible filmmakers and entire team!”
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