American Factory, the documentary from Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions and Participant Media, will premiere on Netflix on August 21. The streaming service had acquired the pic from co-directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it won the U.S. Documentary directing award.
This becomes the first title from the Higher Ground slate to land a spot on the service after the Obamas inked their multi-year agreement in May 2018 to produce films and series for Netflix.
The docu focuses on post-industrial Ohio, where a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring 2,000 blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.
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. It’s a collision of the future of American labor and Chinese economic dominance, all within the confines of a factory in Ohio.
Bognar, Reichert, Jeff Reichert and Julie Parker Benello produced with Mijie Li and Yiqian Zhang co-producing. Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann are executive producers.
Netflix scored world rights to American Factory in Park City in a deal worth just under $3 million.