Julia Reichert, Oscar-winning working-class documentary maker, has died

He was 76 years old. Although she underwent chemotherapy before her Oscar triumph, the director attended the 2020 Academy Awards ceremony

US director Julia Reichert, whose fifty-year career as a documentary filmmaker was crowned by the Oscar win in 2020 for “Made in USA – A factory in Ohio”, author of films dedicated above all to the working class, who paid particular attention to the condition of working women, is died Thursday, December 1 at her home in Yellow Springs, Ohio, at the age of 76 following cancer. The announcement of her passing was made by her partner and frequent directorial collaborator Steven Bognar to “The Hollywood Reporte”.

Despite undergoing chemotherapy before her Oscars triumph, the director attended the 2020 Academy Awards ceremony and took to the stage with Bognar to accept the award for best director of a documentary. The couple then won an Emmy again with “American Factory”, the original title of “Made in USA – A factory in Ohio”. The documentary tells of a Chinese billionaire who reopens an abandoned General Motors plant outside Dayton, Ohio, to produce windshields for cars, shows the collaboration between Chinese and American workers, including attempts to destroy unions and install robotic technologies. The docufilm garnered backing from Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground production company and Netflix after winning the directing award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Long regarded as a godmother of the independent film industry, the director, producer and writer also received Oscar nominations for “Union Maids” (1976), “Seeing Red” (1983) and “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” (2009). Her first film, “Growing Up Female” (1971), was inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Reichert’s films have screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Telluride Festival, South by Southwest, Hot Docs and other festivals, as well as on Hbo and Pbs. Many offer a history of American labor and the women’s movement and radical humanism.