Obamas Make Hollywood Debut In American Factory

Source Getty

Source Getty

It was acquired by Netflix out of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Directing Award.

"American Factory", the story of what happened when a Chinese company took over an abandoned General Motors plant, is the first product of a multi-year collaboration between Netflix (NFLX.O) and Higher Ground, the production company formed last year by the former USA president and first lady. It's why we started Higher Ground Productions, and it's what we talked about with Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, who directed @afactoryfilm. Directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, it explores the complex underpinnings of the entwined economies of the USA and China through an inside look at a Chinese factory in Ohio.

Chinese businessman Cao Dewang owns the Fuyao plant.

Expressing gratitude to Fuyao for allowing them full access to the factory floor, Bognar and Reichert said they had tried to craft the film so that both Chinese and American viewpoints were presented without judgment. It's a factory reopened by a Chinese billionaire amid the ruins of a shuttered General Motors plant whose closing hammered the OH town around it - as well as the thousands of workers laid-off as a result.

The filmmakers capture every key moment in this high-stakes intercultural chess game, revealing how American and Chinese workers view themselves within systems of authority. Sherrod Brown for suggesting that the Chinese owner be open to running a union shop.

Tensions rise when the factory does not meet production goals, leading to an angry disagreement about the right to unionize. Netflix released a brief recording Wednesday of the Obamas discussing why they were interested in the project.

Barack and Michelle have their own production company, so there will be more films to come. It's not an editorial. "I mean, you truly let people speak for themselves, and that is a powerful thing that you don't always see happen".

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Reichert said she has seen some commentary that the Obamas were interested in the film as a criticism of President Donald Trump.

"It has zero to do with Trump or Obama, or the political scene at all", she said.

More than 2,000 people, many of which are locals, are working at the almost 470,000-square-meter factory.

"A good story gives you the chance to better understand someone else's life. It's really a close up and intimate look at what globalization looks like". He invites several of them to a Thanksgiving dinner and to ride on his motorcycle.

Reichter said she and Bognar were thankful to Cao for letting them into the factory. The company chairman mostly comes off as a cold-blooded capitalist, but one arresting scene toward the end shows him wrestling with his legacy. The kids' show will take viewers around the world to learn about the foods that we eat.

"We hope that people realize that without empathy for people who are different from you, you're not going to solve the political divide", Bognar said. It can help you find common ground.

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