It’s been a big year for Yellow Springs filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar. Their latest documentary “American Factory” had an award winning debut recently at the Sundance Film Festival. Now, a deal with streaming giant Netflix is in the works.
“American Factory,” is a follow-up documentary to Reichert’s and Bognar’s Oscar nominated short -subject film “The Last Truck.” That 2009 documentary highlighted the devastating closure of the longstanding GM Assembly Plant in Moraine.
The new film details the plant’s rebirth as Chinese-owned Fuyao Glass America. Steven Bognar says it portrays the hope the reopening brought back to many in the community, and the cultural challenges and setbacks that followed.
Fuyao management approached the filmmakers about the project after hearing about their success with "The Last Truck" from leaders at the Dayton Development Coalition.
“Julia and I were very interested," Bognar says. "It sounded like a really historic story about to take off, but we also told everyone involved, at the company and in the city, that we would do it if it was a truly independent documentary not funded by Fuyao and where we would have editorial control.”
Bognar and Reichert received financing for “American Factory” from Participant Media. The global distribution company specializes in documentary and social-issue-focused media. Last week, the film won a Best Director award for a U.S. documentary film at the Sundance Film Festival.
Bognar and Reichert, along with Participant Media, are in talks with Netflix to purchase the film. Bognar says he’s hopeful a deal can be reached.