Barack, Michelle Obama-backed ‘American Factory’ wins

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We can’t technically say the Obamas are Oscar winners, but a movie from the former president and first lady’s production company is taking home an Academy Award

“American Factory,” the first title from Barack and Michelle Obama‘s Higher Ground Productions, won Sunday for best documentary feature for a film that tells the story of a Chinese billionaire who opens a glass factory in a former General Motors plant in Dayton, Ohio, and hires both American and Chinese people to work there.

Speaking to USA TODAY on the Oscars red carpet, co-director Julia Rechert said that the Obamas saw the film a “couple days before” Sundance Film Festival last year after Higher Ground executives Priya Swaminathan and Tonia Davis suggested they watch it. 

“And so they saw it and they immediately said, ‘OK, let’s do it,'” Reichert said of the Obamas, who would go on to produce the documentary.

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She also recalled the first and only time the team met the Obamas, right after Michelle had completed her “Becoming” book tour. 


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