Obamas’ production company lands Oscar nod for documentary ‘American Factory’


Wong He (left) working with Kenny Taylor (center) and Jarred Gibson (right) in the furnace tempering area of the Fuyao factory in Dayton, Ohio from the film “American Factory”. Netflix/Handout via REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company scored an Oscar nomination on Monday for “American Factory,” a documentary that chronicled what happened to workers when a Chinese billionaire purchased a manufacturing plant in the U.S. Midwest.

“American Factory” is the first release from Higher Ground Productions, a company the former U.S. president and first lady founded in 2018 as they unveiled a multiyear deal to supply programing to Netflix Inc. The film will compete for best documentary at the Academy Awards on Feb. 9.

“Glad to see American Factory’s Oscar nod for Best Documentary,” Barack Obama wrote on Twitter. “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!”

Michelle Obama also offered congratulations, via Twitter, to filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar.

“American Factory” traces the lives of thousands of workers laid off from their auto jobs in Moraine, Ohio, in the 2008 recession, some of whom were hired six years later by Chinese company Fuyao Glass America to make automotive glass in the same plant.

“American Factory” will compete against “The Cave,” a documentary about genocide in Syria; “The Edge of Democracy” about the unraveling of two Brazilian presidencies, and others.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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