Barack and Michelle Obama want to share the people who keep the country running in their new Netflix documentary film, “American Factory.” Released on Wednesday, Aug. 21, the film is the first in a slate of projects that the Obamas have signed on for through their Higher Ground Productions.
In a sneak peek of the project below, the Obamas sit down with filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar to discuss the power of storytelling.
“We want people to be able to get outside of themselves and experience and understand the lives of somebody else. Which is what a good story does. And, that’s why we’re calling it Higher Ground,” he said.
“The idea is that rather than pursuing the lowest common denominator, let’s see if we can chase the highest one. Let’s see if we can all elevate a little bit outside of our immediate self-interest and our immediate fears and our immediate anxieties and kind of take a look around and say, huh, we’re part of this larger thing. And if we can do that through some storytelling, then it helps all of us feel some sort of solidarity with each other.”
Michelle Obama added, “‘American Factory’ doesn’t come in with a perspective; it’s not an editorial. I mean you truly let people speak for themselves, and that is a powerful thing that you don’t always see happen.”
Acquired from Participant Media out of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, “American Factory” examines present-day Sino-American relations, with a post-industrial Ohio factory as its setting. A Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant and hires two thousand American workers. An initial optimism soon takes a backseat to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.
“American Factory” is available to stream now on Netflix and in select theaters beginning Aug. 21.
Watch a clip of the conversation below: