Lulu Wang, center, accepts the award for best feature for "The Farewell" at the 35th Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Santa Monica, Calif.
Photo: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
Photo: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Locally made film ‘American Factory’ wins best documentary feature during Film Independent Spirit Awards 2020

Yellow Springs filmmakers’ documentary “American Factory,” the first film from Barack and Michelle Obama's production company Higher Ground, took home the award for best documentary during Saturday's 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards.  

The film is a nominee for an Academy Award tonight in the same category.

>>PHOTOS: ‘American Factory’ recognized as best documentary feature at Film Independent Spirit Awards

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 08: Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar pose in the press room with the Best Documentary Feature award for "American Factory" during the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 08, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)
Photo: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

"Our film tries to ask questions about the fate of working people in Ohio, in China and really around the world. The kind of people that punch a clock, put on a uniform and work for an hourly rage," Reichert said during the acceptance speech.

"We all know that income equality is growing and widens and it's kind of becoming a canyon and we all know that. Our film tries to ask the question: Is this the way we want the world to be? No, it's not and we could do something about it. We're all citizens. We have a lot of power." 

>> RELATED: Obama salutes Dayton filmmakers for Oscar-nominated movie about local factory workers

Reichert thanked the factories featured in the film for "trusting us to bear witness to their hard work and fight for a decent life."

“American Factory” follows the creation of the Chinese-owned automotive glass-factory Fuyao Glass America in the same building that had once housed a General Motors assembly operation in Moraine.

>> The story behind ‘American Factory’ with Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar

Bognar and Reichert, a couple together for more than 30 years, received an Academy Award nomination in the “Best Documentary (short subject)” category for their 2009 HBO film “The Last Truck” about the closing of that very same GM plant in Moraine.

>> RELATED: What happened at the Dayton premiere of American Factory? 

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 08: (L-R) Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Julie Parker Benello, Jeff Reichert, and Lindsay Utz accept the Best Documentary Feature award for 'American Factory' onstage during the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 08, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)
Photo: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

OTHER WINNERS:

"The Farewell" and "Uncut Gems" were two of the big winners Saturday at the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California.

Here is the complete list of winners:

  • Best Feature: "The Farewell"
  • Best Director: Beeny Safdie and Josh Safdie, "Uncut Gems"
  • Best Female Lead: Renée Zellweger, "Judy"
  • Best Male Lead: Adam Sandler, "Uncut Gems"
  • Best Supporting Female: Zhao Shuzhen, "The Farewell"
  • Best Supporting Male: Willem Dafoe, "The Lighthouse"
  • Best Screenplay: Noah Baumbach, "Marriage Story"
  • Best Editing: Ronald Bronstein and Benny Safdie, "Uncut Gems"
  • Best Documentary Feature: "American Factory"
  • Best Cinematography: Jarin Blaschke, "The Lighthouse"
  • Best First Feature: "Booksmart"
  • Best First Screenplay: Fredrica Bailey and Stefon Bristol, "See You Yesterday"
  • John Cassavetes Award: "Give Me Liberty"
  • Robert Altman Award: "Marriage Story"
  • Best International Film: "Parasite"
  • Producers Award: Mollye Asher
  • Someone to Watch Award: Rashaad Ernesto Green, "Premature"
  • Truer Than Fiction Award: Nadia Shihab, "Jaddoland"
  • Bonnie Award: Kelly Reichardt

Read more here.

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