American Factory

2019 | Documentary | 110 minutes | In English and Mandarin with English subtitles

Two days before Christmas, in 2008, General Motors closed its plant in Moraine, Ohio, a small town outside Dayton. 10,000 people became unemployed. Banks foreclosed on homes. Many workers declared bankruptcy. Six years later, Fuyao Glass Industry Group, a Chinese manufacturing company, came along and reopened the factory, hiring 2,000 American workers. They also brought in 200 Chinese workers hoping that the  different cultures could learn from each other. They would begin to produce automobile windshields. An internationally sponsored rust-belt utopia was right around the corner. Filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert had incredible access interviewing both American and Chinese workers. Some employees were provided with tiny camcorders to capture footage of the assembly line. With no union to protect them, discontent starts to permeate the factory. Salaries are cut, safety measures eliminated, and working conditions become intolerable. The Chinese supervisors are unable to get along with the more opinionated and resentful American workers. It was an experiment and an effort to revive a dying a company in a dying town, and, unfortunately, it simply didn’t work.
Major Participants
Cao Dewang, Chairman of Fuyao / Many American and Chinese workers interviewed in and out of the factory.
Why Stream This Film?
A heartbreaking story about  how some  manufacturing companies  have hurt American workers in a ruthless global economy. Film critic David Fear concluded his review with the following: “AMERICAN FACTORY sets out to chart what’s supposed to be a test run for the future of the auto industry and an example of positive international relations. It ends up capturing a cross-cultural car wreck in slow motion.” 
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 97%
  • Metacritic Score: 86
  • RiverRun International Film Festival:  Winner, Best Feature Documentary
  • Sundance Film Festival: Winner, Best Director, Documentary Featured Film
  • Sarasota Film Festival: Winner, Documentary Feature Jury Prize

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Like all of the truly great docs of the past 50 years, AMERICAN FACTORY‘s ability to contain multitudes within a single captured moment speaks volumes.
David Fear


AMERICAN FACTORY provides a snapshot of the struggle between labor and management that is both timeless and distinctly of its time. Even more surprisingly, it does so in a manner that is often engaging and entertaining, considering the subject matter.
Peter Sobczynski

The veteran filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, who are a couple and live outside Dayton, documented the G.M.plant when it closed . The feature-length story they tell here is complex, stirring, timely and beautifully shaped, spanning continents as it surveys the past, present, and possible future of American labor. 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.
Manohla Dargis

The New York Times

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