Watch the Trailer for the Obamas' First Netflix Project, 'American Factory'

The documentary about a Chinese-owned factory in the Rust Belt is already drumming up Oscar buzz.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
August 14, 2019, 4:36pm
American Factory
Photo of the Obamas via Wikimedia Commons; still from American Factory via Netflix / YouTube

After Barack and Michelle Obama landed a huge Netflix deal and unveiled seven series and movies they're producing for the streaming service, we've finally got a look at their first project. Netflix just dropped the trailer for American Factory, a documentary about a Chinese-owned factory in Ohio, the locals who work there, and the cultural rift between the blue-collar Americans and their foreign bosses.

The documentary, from the Obamas' production arm Higher Ground, follows what happened after a GM plant outside Dayton shuttered in 2008, leaving 2,000 people out of a job—only to be reopened in 2014 by a Chinese auto-glass manufacturer. The head of the company, Cao Dewang, hired about 1,000 locals, and brought in a handful of skilled Chinese workers to train and oversee them. The documentary lends equal weight to both groups, illuminating the complicated dynamics of Rust Belt laborers clashing—and, at times, coming together—with the foreign employees hired above them.

American Factory made a big splash on the festival circuit, earning directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert the Directing Award for US Documentary at Sundance. The film has landed universally rave reviews, and it's already drumming up Oscar buzz.

Check out the trailer for American Factory above, and catch the doc when it premieres on Netflix and in theaters on August 21.

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