The General Motors plant was shuttered just over a decade ago in Dayton, Ohio, amid a financial downturn and less demand for the fuel-guzzling vehicles coming off its production line. More than 10,000 locals were left without jobs. Directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert documented its closure for HBO in their 2009 short The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, and the precarious future faced by its soon-to-be-redundant employees. Now, the pair have returned to the scene, for the feature American Factory.
The plant was bought by Chinese billionaire Cao Dewang, and the directors chart its 2014 reopening as an automobile glass manufacturer, Fuyao Glass America. The film was picked up, after the fact, by the Obamas’ Higher Ground production company for Netflix, and is now entering the last stages of the Oscar race as a feature-length best documentary nominee.
Those days are over
«We’ll never make that kind of money again — those days are over», says one former General Motors employee, resigned to the realities of his new climate. As the film opens, many starting at Fuyao are simply delighted to . . .
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