The documentary, which was shot in Ohio and was a hit at this year's Cleveland International Film Festival, is launching to national audiences and is ready to draw a lot of attention – in part because it is the first collaboration between Netflix and Higher Ground to produce a company formed last year by former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
The movie is called "The American Factory" and it became available this week on Netflix. He looks at what happened when Fuyao, a Chinese carmaker, took over a derelict General Motors plant in Dayton. He made his debut earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival and aired at CIFF on March 30 and 31
The American Factory received a strong critical response, boasting a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Los Angeles Times, for example, said it "deals with many different cultures in combination and clash, a story that understands global economic problems and has the sensitivity to engage us intimately in the daily lives of the people involved." In a four-star review, The Washington Post said it was "that rare documentary that is not only captivating in its content, but deeply satisfying, with its themes of transparency and reflection captured by sparkling sheets of glass and perfect machines of the Fuyao Factory. "
Vox called the movie" a compelling look into the future "of America's industrial economy and directed good questions and answers with its directors, documentary veterans Steve Bogar and Julia Reichert. They know the subject well: Bognar and Reichert built themselves in the same factory in Dayton in 2008 to make the short film "The Last Truck: Closing the GM GM," which was nominated for an Academy Award. (It is screened in CIFF 34.)
The latest episode of the excellent podcast The Frame contains an interview with Bognar and Reichert, which provides more insight into their filmmaking process and their observations on the future of work in America and China.  The American Factory is the first of several projects on the way from Obama's High Land. Reuters noted that, according to its deal for Netflix, Higher Ground "will produce, treat and acquire content for distribution in the streaming service." (The value of the deal is unknown.)
Upcoming programming, Reuters said, "will include an adaptation of David W. Blyth's Pulitzer Prize-winning book by David W. Blyth for the abolition of slavery, but periodic a drama set in the fashion world and a series for preschoolers focused on healthy eating. "