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American Factory – An Online Panel Discussion
Wednesday, May 27 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The Film American Factory will NOT be shown at this Panel Discussion
This is an online discussion that will center on the Netflix film. You can watch the film ahead of time for free on Netflix:
Registration Ends Tonight at Midnight! Click HERE for Zoom Event Registration
American Factory is a 2019 American documentary film directed by Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar , about Chinese company Fuyao’s factory in Moraine, a city near Dayton, Ohio, that occupies Moraine Assembly, a shuttered General Motors plant. The film had its festival premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
Filmed from February 2015 until the end of 2017, Reichert and Bognar were granted filming access by Fuyao at both their Ohio and Chinese plant locations. They were inspired to make this film as the events they aimed to depict were taking place in the same Moraine Assembly plant once occupied by General Motors, which was the central topic of their 2009 Oscar-nominated documentary short The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant.
Produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s new production company Higher Ground, in conjunction with Participant Media and distributed by Netflix, American Factory was directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, veteran documentarians with a five-decade list of social-issue film credits that include Union Maids, Seeing Red, Methadone: An American Way of Dealing, Growing Up Female and Raises Not Roses: The Story of the 9to5 Movement.
“Having the directors speak to us in real time is what makes this program so special,” says John Haer, Battle of Homestead Foundation president. “They saw the process unfold over several years and were able to interpret that in tandem with events happening in the world outside the factory.”
For the May 27 panel discussion, Bognar and Reichert will be joined by Braddock filmmaker Tony Buba, whose oft-awarded body of work has chronicled Western Pennsylvania working-class life, and Dr. Louis A. Picard, director of the Public Administration Program at the University of Pittsburgh and an expert in international economic and social development.
“America’s factory and warehouse networks are in crisis, and so much of the problem lies in the how we address the basic rights not just of workers but of consumers at the other end of the supply chain,” says Rosemary Trump, Battle of Homestead Foundation board member and former Pennsylvania AFL-CIO vice president. “American Factory has a lot to tell us about the stark future that millions of Americans may encounter in their workplace and their daily lives.”
Click HERE for Zoom Event Registration
If you have already registered to attend here’s a discussion guide for your consideration: CLICK HERE
You will receive an additional email the day before the event which will include the Zoom meeting ID and password.
PANELISTS for “American Factory” May 27 Zoom Event
In 1970, Julia Reichert began making films to change the world; over the ensuing half century she’s
earned international acclaim as one of America’s premier documentary filmmakers culminating in her 2020
Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary for American Factory shared with Jeff Reichert and Steven
Bognar. A professor in the department of community health and professor of motion pictures in the theater
arts department at Wright State University, Ms. Reichert co-founded New Day Films (a distribution cooperative
for independent films) and The Film Fund (a foundation supporting social issue media that led to
the creation of the Independent Feature Project). Her first five documentaries (Growing Up Female,
Methadone: An American Way of Dealing, Union Maids, Seeing Red, A Lion in the House) were all
broadcast on national PBS. The Last Truck (with Steve Bognar) premiered at Telluride and was an HBO
special; the short Sparkle was broadcast nationally on PBS. Her student project at Antioch College,
Growing Up Female, has been named to the National Film Registry, and A Lion in the House won a
Primetime Emmy Award. Her most recent project is an experimental interactive non-fiction website,
Reinvention Stories, with Steve Bognar and WYSO FM. A recipient of Fulbright and Rockefeller
Fellowships, Ms. Reichert’s work has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities,
National Endowment for the Arts, Ohio Arts Council and American Film Institute.
Steven Bognar is former assistant professor of media arts at Antioch College and has for the last 15 years
worked as a filmmaker-in-residence in schools throughout Ohio. His first film, Personal Belongings,
premiered at Sundance Film Festival and screened nationally on the PBS series P.O.V. winning numerous
awards, including the Golden Gate Award at San Francisco International Film Festival, Best First Film at
Ann Arbor Film Festival and Audience Award for Best Film at Atlanta Film and Video Festival. His
second film, Picture Day, won Best Documentary Short at Florida Film Festival, screened at Sundance
Film Festival, in numerous film festivals and at the Guggenheim Museum; his third film, Gravel, premiered
at Sundance and screens regularly on Sundance Channel. Mr. Bognar’s work has been funded by the
National Endowment for the Arts, Soros Documentary Fund, Creative Capital Foundation, Ohio
Humanities Council, Ohio Arts Council and Culture Works. He is a Rockefeller Fellow.
Tony Buba is one of the most unique voices working in American independent filmmaking today. With
humor, compassion and a complete dedication to the working-class heroes of his hometown of Braddock,
Pennsylvania, Buba has created a body of work which documents the rise and fall of a steel town with
unblinking accuracy. Buba has made over 30 films exploring working-class issues in and around his
hometown incuding Struggles In Steel: A Story of African-American Steelworkers, We Are Alive! The Fight
to Save Braddock Hospital, Voices from a Steeltown, Mill Hunk Herald and Betty’s Corner Café. Buba’s
work has been showcased at Sundance, Berlin, Toronto and other major film festivals and at The Museum
of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Carnegie Museum of Art and more than 100 museums
and universities along with broadcasts on PBS, Sundance, Starz and Bravo channels. His awards include
fellowships from the NEA, American Film Institute and the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations.
Dr. Louis A. Picard is Director of the Public Administration Program at the University of Pittsburgh and
serves as Co-coordinator of the Governance group at the University. Picard served four years as the
Director of the Ford Institute for Human Security at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also former
Associate Dean and Acting Dean of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of
Pittsburgh. Dr. Picard has taught at university level since 1976 and carried out research on governance and
international development in Africa and the developing world since 1965. Author of 14 books and 50
articles and book chapters, he is President of ASA Social Fund for Hidden Peoples, a non-profit providing
capacity building support for those marginalized from society.