Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert, Yellow Springs-based filmmakers, in a 2009 file photo.
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Netflix planning to buy local couple’s new award-winning film in deal said to be worth millions, reports say 

Former Wright State professors win big at Sundance Film Festival. 

A local couple had a very big weekend in Utah. 

Steve Bognar and his partner Julia Reichert, a Wright State University professor emeritus, picked up the U.S.  documentary directing award for their film “American Factory” at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in Park City. 

Now Netflix is on the verge of buying the world rights to “American Factory,” according to Deadline.

>> Yellow Springs filmmakers soak up their Sundance Film Festival experience

Hollywood Reporter says the deal for the “culture-clash documentary” 

is just south of $3 million. 

In addition, “Clemency,” a film by former assistant professor of motion pictures at Wright State Chinonye Chukwu, won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic at Sundance. 

“Clemency” centers around a prison warden as she prepares to carry out the execution of a death-row inmate.

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Archived photo Chinonye Chukwu, then a assistant professor of motion pictures at Wright State, worked with incarcerated women at the Dayton Correctional Institution to produce five short films. Two of them were shown at a passt LunaFest at The Neon. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY WILL JONES
Photo: Staff Writer

“American Factory” is set inside Fuyao Glass America in Moraine. 

The film’s description on Sundance’s website reads

In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.

>> RELATED: Wright State grad goes from ‘single mom working two jobs’ to Oscar nominee for ‘Black Panther’

Reichert and Bognar 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. 

Fuyao is located within the complex that once held a General Motors plant. 

“Last Truck” was a third Oscar nomination for Reichert.

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The longtime educator's films "Union Maids (1976)" and "Seeing Red (1983)" were nominated for Best Feature Documentary Academy Awards. 

Her first film, "Growing Up Female," was selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. 

>> Local professor, student inducted into Dayton Walk of Fame on same day

Reichert and Bognar won the Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking Emmy in 2007 for their film “A Lion in the House.” 

>> Report: Fuyao now profitable, sees nearly $319M in revenue