Oscar-winning Daytonian Julia Reichert to address Antioch graduates

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Yellow Springs filmmakers Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert win a 2020 Academy Award for best documentary feature for "American Factory."

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Antioch College’s 2020 commencement speaker will be one of Dayton’s most celebrated filmmakers.

Oscar-winning Antioch alumna, Julia Reichert, will be the college's commencement speaker at its virtual ceremony to be streamed on Saturday at 1 p.m. The livestream will be available to view by the public on Antioch's commencement website at 1 p.m. via antiochcollege.edu/commencement.

Yellow Springs residents Reichert and Steve Bognar — longtime pillars of Dayton’s art and film community — received the Oscar in the documentary feature category for their critically-acclaimed film “American Factory” at the Academy Award ceremony, Sunday, Feb. 9. They share the award with Jeff Reichert.

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Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, who won an Oscar in the documentary feature category for “American Factory,” returned to Wright State University Thursday to speak with students in the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures. Reichert is a professor emeritus at WSU and Bognar is an alumnus and former motion pictures faculty member. The couple brought their Oscar statuettes for the students to pass around and shared their documentary film making process. “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. LISA POWELL / STAFF
Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, who won an Oscar in the documentary feature category for “American Factory,” returned to Wright State University Thursday to speak with students in the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures. Reichert is a professor emeritus at WSU and Bognar is an alumnus and former motion pictures faculty member. The couple brought their Oscar statuettes for the students to pass around and shared their documentary film making process. “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. LISA POWELL / STAFF

A graduate of the Antioch College class of 1970, Reichert has been an active member and builder of the American documentary filmmaking community and has been called the godmother of the American independent film movement. She graduated from the college with a bachelor’s degree in film.

Reichert is also battling a rare and deadly cancer.

>> Dayton-area filmmakers Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar win Oscar for ‘American Factory’

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.

Upon receiving the 2020 Academy Award, Reichert said, “Even before that envelope got opened, just being in the presence, in the company of our sister and brother documentarians who risked their lives making stories, bringing stories to us about hospitals being bombed in Syria, about Brazil, about Macedonia, we were so proud. We are inspired by you guys. Our film is from Ohio and China. Go Buckeyes! Sorry. But it really could be from anywhere that people put on a uniform and punch a clock, trying to make their families have a better life. Working people have it harder and harder these days. We believe that things will get better when workers of the world unite.”

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Reichert is co-founder of New Day Films, the independent film distribution co-op. She is author of Doing It Yourself, the first book on self-distribution in indie film.