Julia Reichert

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Julia Reichert
Alma materAntioch College
OccupationDocumentary filmmaker
RelativesJeff Reichert (nephew)

Julia Reichert is an American Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and feminist.

Reichert grew up in Bordentown Township, New Jersey,[1] and was a 1964 graduate of Bordentown Regional High School.[2][3] She graduated from Antioch College in 1970 with a degree in documentary arts.[4] She is professor emeritus in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Motion Pictures at Wright State University.[5] Reichert was honored with the International Documentary Association’s Career Achievement Award in 2018.[6]


Her first film was the noted documentary Growing Up Female, which she created with her longtime collaborator James Klein.

In 1971, she helped to found New Days Films, a US film distribution company created to help bolster the Women's Movement. New Day Films avoids traditional distribution to theaters and instead distributes films directly to schools, unions, and community groups.

She received her first Academy Award nomination in 1978 with Klein and Miles Mogulescu for Union Maids. She was also nominated, again with Klein, in 1984 for the Oscar for the best documentary for Seeing Red.[7]

Julia and Steve Bognar worked on the editing and structuring of their documentary, "A Lion in the House", which follows five families each of whom has a child who has been diagnosed with cancer. The filmmakers began this documentary in 1997, and continue shooting and editing to this date. They intend and hope the project will air on PBS, whose branch, "The Independent Television Service" has supported the film thus far. While at MacDowell, Julia and Steve learned they had been awarded a $50,000 grant for the project from the National Endowment for the Arts. Reichert and Bognar both received The MacDowell Colony Fellowship in 2004.

The 2006 documentary A Lion in the House, co-directed with Steven Bognar, received multiple award nominations, including the 2006 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Documentary Award and the 2008 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. Reichert won an Emmy for Outstanding Merits in Non-Fiction Movies at the 2007 Primetime Emmy Awards.[8]

Reichert was again nominated for an Academy Award with Steven Bognar in 2010 for Best Short Documentary for the film The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant.

In 2019, Reichert and Bognar premiered their documentary American Factory at the Sundance Film Festival where they won the Directing Award: U.S. Documentary.[9] The film has been picked up by Netflix.[10] In January 2020, Bognar and Reichert won the Directors Guild of America Award for Documentary for American Factory.[11] On Feb 9, 2020, American Factory won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.[12][13] During her acceptance speech at the Academy Awards, Reichert appeared to quote a rallying cry from The Communist Manifesto, saying “working people have it harder and harder these days and we believe that things will get better when workers of the world unite.”[14][15][16]


In many of her films, Reichert focuses on various social issues, like gender and working-class issues.[4] A number of her films are also tailored to a specific audience and propose potential solutions to the social problems to which they call attention. However, she tends to avoid singling out any single person in her documentaries as a heroic figure, which works against her goal to get audiences to take action.[4]

Reichert uses a direct cinema style, avoiding voiceover narration. By mostly presenting interviews in her documentaries, she avoids framing the issues, preferring to allow the subjects to have more control over the narrative.[4]



  1. ^ Wilson, Kevin. "A Q&A With Oscar-Winning Director Julia Reichert, Who Will Speak About ‘American Factory’ in Louisville", Leo Weekly, February 13, 2020. Accessed February 14, 2020. "I came from a rural area outside a small town called Bordentown, New Jersey. And pretty much everybody I knew there was a Republican."
  2. ^ Julia Reichert Alumni Hall of Fame Class of 1964, Bordentown Regional High School. Accessed February 14, 2020.
  3. ^ "Bordentown High School grad wins Academy Award for 'Best Documentary Feature'", Burlington County Times, February 12, 2020. Accessed February 14, 2020. "A Bordentown Regional High School graduate took home an Academy Award on Sunday for the Best Documentary Feature. Julia Reichert, class of 1964, co-directed and was a producer of American Factory."
  4. ^ a b c d Aitken, Ian (2006). Encyclopedia of the Documentary Film. New York: Routledge. p. 1111.
  5. ^ "Julia Reichert, Wright State professor emeritus, to be honored with prestigious career documentary award". Wright State University. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Yellow Springs Filmmaker To Be Awarded High Documentary Film Industry Honor". WYSO. 26 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Julia Reichert". New Day Films.
  8. ^ "A Lion in the House (2006) Awards". IMDb.
  9. ^ "2019 Sundance Film Festival Awards Announced". Sundance Institute.
  10. ^ "Bognar And Reichert Doc "American Factory" Wins At Sundance, Possibly Heading To Netflix". WYSO. 6 February 2019.
  11. ^ "'1917' Director Takes Home Top Prize At DGA Awards". www.patch.com. Patch. January 26, 2020. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  12. ^ "Obamas' studio lands documentary Oscar for 'American Factory'". National Post. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  13. ^ "Best documentary nominations 2020". oscar.go.com. Retrieved 2020-02-04.
  14. ^ Gorman, Steve (February 10, 2020). "UPDATE 1-Obamas' studio lands documentary Oscar for 'American Factory'" Reuters.
  15. ^ Hernandez, Daniel (February 9, 2020) "Communist Manifesto quoted at the Oscars" Los Angeles Times.
  16. ^ "Oscars 2020: 'Parasite’ and Bong Joon-ho win four, including best picture; no acting surprises as Zellweger, Phoenix, Pitt and Dern win; Eminem performs 17 years late" The Washington Post. February 10, 2020.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]