Obama Film ‘American Factory’ Premieres on Netflix

American Factory, a documentary about a Chinese manufacturing company moving into a shuttered General Motors factory near Dayton, Ohio, debuts on Netflix Aug. 21. The film is from Higher Ground Productions, the production outfit of President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.

Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert directed the film. “Hopes soar when a Chinese company reopens a shuttered factory in Ohio,” said Netflix. “But a culture clash threatens to shatter an American dream.”

Bognar and Reichert made the short film The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, about the same facility that the Chinese company moves into as depicted in American Factory, in 2009.

“Bognar and Reichert spent a number of years making American Factory, a commitment that’s evident in its layered storytelling and the trust they earned,” said the NY Times in a review. “American and visiting Chinese workers alike open their homes and hearts.”

President Obama explained Higher Ground’s purpose in the spring. “We created Higher Ground to harness the power of storytelling. That’s why we couldn’t be more excited about these projects,” he said. “Touching on issues of race and class, democracy and civil rights, and much more, we believe each of these productions won’t just entertain, but will educate, connect, and inspire us all.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.