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Oscar-winning documentarian Julia Reichert passes away at 76

Updated on: 04 December,2022 11:48 AM IST  |  Washington

Reichert spent 28 years teaching film production at Wright State University in addition to being a filmmaker

Oscar-winning documentarian Julia Reichert passes away at 76

Representational image. Pic/iStock

Veteran documentarian Julia Reichert, who won an Oscar in 2020 for her feature 'American Factory,' passed away at the age of 76 due to cancer.

The news of her death was confirmed by Variety.

According to Variety, a US-based news outlet, across her more than 50 years as a filmmaker, Reichert received four Academy Award nominations and one win, two Primetime Emmys, a Director's Guild Award and two Peabody Awards nods. Her documentaries, including the Oscar-nominated "Union Maids," "Seeing Red: Stories of American Communists," and "The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant," addressed issues of gender, class, race, and the world economy.

In addition to "American Factory," which they shared as the best documentary feature, "Dave Chappelle: Live in Real Life," "8:46," "9to5: The Story of a Movement," "Making Morning Star," "Sparkle," "The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant," and "A Lion in the House," Reichert and her partner Steven Bognar frequently worked together.

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Following a brief leave of absence to hitchhike to California in the late 1960s, Reichert, who was born and reared in Bordentown Township, New Jersey, graduated from Antioch College in 1970 and published her debut documentary, "Growing Up Female," in 1971. The first documentary of the Women's Liberation Movement covered the socialisation of women at various stages of their life. In 2011, the Library of Congress chose it for the National Film Registry.

She received two more nominations in 1984 and 2010, but it wasn't until 2020 that she finally won the Oscar for "American Factory," a film about the cultural clash that occurs when a Chinese corporation reopens a closed GM facility in Moraine, Ohio. It had its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the best director award for a U.S. documentary. It was subsequently chosen by Netflix and Higher Ground Productions, owned by the Obamas, as the company's first acquired title.

Following that, she and Bognar worked on two projects with comedian Dave Chappelle as well as 2020's "9to5: The Story of a Movement," a documentary on the National Association of Working Women. Together, they produced "8:46," a highly praised performance special on the death of George Floyd, and the unreleased "Dave Chappelle: Live in Real Life," a documentary documenting the comedian's appearances at the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

Reichert spent 28 years teaching film production at Wright State University in addition to being a filmmaker.

According to Variety, Reichert is survived by Bognar, daughter Lela Klein Holt, three brothers, two grandchildren and a nephew.

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