Robert "Bobby" Allen, Wong He and Jill Lamantia pose for a selfie. The trio appears in Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar's "American Factory" and are featured on a poster for it.
Photo: Robert "Bobby" Allen
Photo: Robert "Bobby" Allen

These Daytonians are headed to the Oscars 

“To see folks from Dayton get that star treatment, it is a treat, it is fun to see,” filmmaker’s daughter said. “I am really proud of my mom and Steve, and they totally deserve it.”

Come Sunday, Jill Lamantia will trade in her jeans, T-shirt, boots, bandana and safety goggles for sparkling shoes and a fancy evening gown with silver sequins. 

“I can’t wait. I am going to get my hair done,” said Lamantia, one of the key figures in the locally-filmed, Academy-Award nominated documentary  “American Factory.” “I can’t wait for the lights to be on so I can get the shimmer from my dress, and necklace and shoes. (I feel like) a little 4-year-old getting up with her little dress and patent-leather shoes.” 

“American Factory” from Oscar-nominated filmmakers Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert made its theatrical debut Monday, Aug. 19 at the Victoria Theatre in downtown Dayton. Bognar and Reichert (blue and white shirts) are pictured with Louis Carter and Shawnea Rosser Carter (center), Jill Lamantia and an unidentified man.
Photo: Amelia Robinson
 

Lamantia and four other main subjects of the documentary from Fuyao Glass America in Moraine  —  Shawnea Rosser-Carter, Robert “Bobby” Allen, Wong He and Rob Haerr  — are expected to attend the 92nd annual Academy Awards ceremony Sunday in Los Angeles with acclaimed Dayton-area based filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar. 

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

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 25: (L-R) Julia Reichert, Steve Bognar, Wong He, Bobby Allen, Julie Parker Benello, Lindsay Utz, Jeff Reichert, and Jill Lamantia attend the "American Factory" Premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival at Prospector Square Theatre on January 25, 2019 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)
Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Netflix, a streaming company that helped acquire “American Factory” as part of a partnership with Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions, is putting the group from Dayton up at the ritzy London West Hollywood Hotel, Lamantia said. 

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

“It is getting close, and it is getting stressful. Am I ready?” she asked Tuesday,  Feb. 4. “It does feel like Christmas — little girl at Christmas anticipating what’s going to be under the Christmas tree.”

Shawnea Rosser in a scene from "American Factory." NETFLIX

The Oscar ceremony will be broadcast on ABC 22 beginning at 8 p.m. 

“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

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 25: Jill Lamantia attends the "American Factory" Premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival at Prospector Square Theatre on January 25, 2019 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)
Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Bognar and Reichert, a Yellow Springs couple together for more than 30 years, were also nominated for 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.

This is the third year in a row the Miami Valley will have a direct connection to the awards. 

Centerville High School graduate Hannah Beachler won the Oscar for Production Design last year for her work on Marvel’s “Black Panther” during the 91st Annual Academy Awards. 

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Dayton celebrates Hannah Beachler’s historic Oscar win

Two years ago, Oakwood-raised actress Allison Janney earned the Oscar for best actress in a supporting role at the 90th annual Academy Awards for “I, Tonya.”
Lamantia, now a Navistar International in Springfield employee, said Reichert and Bognar quickly blended in during the filming process that took nearly two years.

“They were there so much that they became part of the workforce,” the Kettering resident said. “I had no clue that it (the film) would turn into what it has.”   

She said she feels proud to be part of a project that tells the story of workers. 

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 25: Director Julia Reichert attends the "American Factory" Premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival at Prospector Square Theatre on January 25, 2019 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)
Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

“Factory work is really hard, hard work and not everybody can do factory work and let alone do it for years and years and years,” said Lamantia, who recently turned 60. 

More than excited for herself, Lamantia said she is excited for Bognar and Reichert, who has battled cancer through the awards season.

Lamantia marveled that Reichert smiles brightly with a shaved head in the Academy Award luncheon group picture next to none other than Al Pacino. 

92nd Oscars nominees at the Oscar Nominee Luncheon held at the Ray Dolby Ballroom, Monday, January 27, 2020. The 92nd Oscars will air on Sunday, February 9, 2020 live on ABC. Yellow Springs resident Julia Reichert (pink shirt) stands next to Al Pacino. Actresses Charlize Theron, Renée Zellweger and Cynthia Erivo can also be seen in this cropped and zoomed in photo. Reichert co-directed Oscar nominated film “American Factory” with partner Steve Bognar.
Photo: Todd Wawrychuk

Lamantia said she considers Reichert a mentor and hero.

“She’s easy-going and so loving. For that (a cancer diagnosis) to happen to her, it just breaks my heart,” she said. “The love between the two of them (Julia and Steven),  it just warms my heart.” 

This is Bognar’s second Academy Award nomination and Reichert’s fourth. 

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Dayton celebrates Hannah Beachler’s historic Oscar win

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 25: (L-R) Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar accept Documentary for 'American Factory' during the 72nd Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards at The Ritz Carlton on January 25, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Aside from “Last Truck” and “American Factory,” she was nominated for the first time in 1978 with James Klein and Miles Mogulescu for “Union Maids,” and again with Klein in 1984 for “Seeing Red.”

Lela May Klein, Reichert’s daughter, plans to attend the award ceremony as her mom’s plus one. 

Washington Twp. resident Robert "Bobby" Allen with his wife, Carolyn, at the Sundance Film Festival. Mr. Allen appears in Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar's "American Factory.” CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Robert "Bobby" Allen

She was eight months pregnant when she attended the ceremony with her mother for “The Last Truck.”

The experience of seeing so many celebrities in one place is mind-blowing, Klein said. 

>> LAST CHANCE TO VOTE: Support your favorites for Best of Dayton today 

As Klein explains it, your mind tells you that you know them personally even though that is not the case. 

Klein said she is thrilled for the film’s stars and directors because of the attention this film has received. 

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 25: Director Steve Bognar attends the "American Factory" Premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival at Prospector Square Theatre on January 25, 2019 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)
Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

“To see folks from Dayton get that star treatment, it is a treat, it is fun to see,” she said. “I am really proud of my mom and Steve, and they totally deserve it.”

Now a custodian for Centerville City Schools, Robert “Bobby” Allen, said the movie has an important message about workers, culture and globalization. 

“We as Americans work to live,” he said. “The Chinese live to work. That was an expression around the factory.”  

Allen said he left Fuyao following an injury.

The former General Motors worker first became familiar with Bognar and Reichert during the filming of “The Last Truck.” He plays a small part in that film. 

A scene from “American Factory” featuring Rob Haerr and Wong He. CONTRIBUTED

Taking part in the movie, promoting it at film festivals and attending the Oscar ceremony has been an experience that Allen said tops a list of life accomplishments that includes being a studio musician for Stax Records in Memphis, playing with Martha Reeves, working on a railroad and spending three years in Detroit helping with the build-out process for the Chevy Trail Blazer. 

>> Three cheers! Dayton-area man, Lady Gaga, Adele and Sterling K. Brown in same prestigious group

“I’ve enjoyed every bit of it,” he said, adding that he even liked being interviewed by Bognar and Reichert until 1 or 2 a.m. after working second shift at Fuyao Glass. 

“I would do it again and again,” he said. “Here we are getting ready to go to the Academy Awards because our little documentary has been nominated for an Oscar,” the Washington Twp. resident said. “How cool is that?” 

Directors Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar introduce Netflix’s “American Factory” at the Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theater on April 26, 2019, in New York City. ASTRID STAWIARZ/GETTY IMAGES
Photo: Staff Writer

He plans to wear the tuxedo he wore when he married his wife, Carolyn Allen, in Hawaii in 2007. 

“It still fits,” Mr. Allen said of the suit purchased at Macy’s.

His vest has narrow silver stripes that widen and narrow again. He plans to wear a coordinating tie and pocket square. 

“I have been having dreams about walking the red carpet for two or three nights,” he said Wednesday, Feb. 5. 

Robert “Bobby” Allen in a scene from "American Factory." NETFLIX

Allen appears on a poster for “American Factory” with Wong He, a Chinese citizen, and Lamantia.

Movie poster for "American Factory," an Academy Award nominated film by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert.

Allen said he and Lamantia signed each others’ copies.

“Jill asked, 'what should I write?' "Allen said. "I said, 'just write we are riding the wave’.”  

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 25: Wong He, Jill Lamantia, and Bobby Allen attend the "American Factory" Premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival at Prospector Square Theatre on January 25, 2019 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)
Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Lamantia said that wave has been extraordinary. 

“It’s just this beautiful rainbow of color shining all over the sky,” she said. “It is just cool to be a part of it.”

She wonders what Hollywood’s stars will think when they see factory workers gussied up just like them.

“Will they look down upon you or would they admire you?” she asked.  

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 25: (L-R) Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar accept Documentary for 'American Factory' onstage during the 72nd Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards at The Ritz Carlton on January 25, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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