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January 11, 2020 – January 19, 2020

Julia Reichert’s exceptional body of work is one of American independent cinema’s most important and wide-ranging, garnering several major award nominations and a host of accolades throughout her fifty-year career. Reichert has been at the heart of the American documentary field, blazing a path for young filmmakers to make and self-distribute their work in lieu of commercial distribution. That idea led to her co-founding of New Day Films in the early 1970s, a company which has since been at the cutting edge of non-fiction filmmaking, well-known for getting films into the hands of those they might most directly affect.

Starting in 1971 with her eye-opening debut feature Growing Up Female, which explores the subtle ways that American girls become socialized through both interpersonal means and the media, Reichert has since directed a long string of vital films that probe the collective experience of this country and its bedrock institutions. Many of Reichert’s films deal with labor and workers’ rights, whether organized through labor unions or via informal channels—including the ground-breaking work of early-20th-century union formation Union Maids (1974); the tragic, multifaceted tales of political persecution in Seeing Red: Stories of American Communists (1983); and the effects of globalization and neoliberal policies in The Last Truck: The Closing of a GM Plant (2009). All of these films were nominated for Academy Awards. Reichert has also trained her lens on the art world, focusing on the building of an opera in Making Morning Star (2016) and a contemporary dancer’s return to performance in Sparkle (2012), both exceptional portraits of artists at work. Reichert has also approached the American healthcare landscape from two very different angles and many years apart: In the shocking exposé Methadone: An American Way of Dealing (1974), and in A Lion in the House (2006), an Emmy-winning film that meticulously follows five families battling pediatric cancer in Cincinnati. 

Reichert’s recent work continues her already-established legacy of activist filmmaking and a deeply empathetic approach to ordinary people struggling under capitalism. American Factory (2019), an exceptional film that won best director at the Sundance Film Festival—and is the first film under the Obamas’ Netflix production deal—details the re-opening of a Dayton, Ohio industrial factory under Chinese ownership. And Reichert’s latest, 9to5: The Story of a Movement (2019), tells the real story of women fighting for workplace equality in the early 1970s.

On January 12 at 5 pm, Reichert will give a lecture called 50 Years in Film, full of experience and insight from which filmmakers of all generations can benefit. Later that evening, Reichert and collaborator Steven Bognar will join us for a Q&A following a screening of American Factory.

Julia Reichert: 50 Years in Film is organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts with the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and curated by Wexner Center Director of Film/Video David Filipi. Special thanks to Chicken & Egg Pictures for its support.

A Lion in the House

Directed by Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar

A Lion in the House follows the unique stories of five children and their families at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical

Growing Up Female / Methadone: An American Way of Dealing / Sparkle

Directed by Julia Reichert

This program features three documentaries by Julia Reichert and collaborators focused on American social systems and the personal response to

Julia Reichert: My Life in Film + American Factory

Directed by Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar

In this unique two-part event, Julia Reichert will present a new artist talk entitled "My Life in Film," a live

Seeing Red: Stories of American Communists

Directed by Julia Reichert, Jim Klein

Seeing Red tells the forgotten history and adventures of ordinary Americans who joined the Communist Party and the high price

Union Maids / The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant / Making Morning Star

Directed by Julia Reichert

This program features three labor films by Julia Reichert and collaborators, focused on diverse areas of American work — housekeeping,

Work in Progress Screening—9to5: The Story of a Movement

Directed by Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar

Most have heard the song “Nine to Five” by the great Dolly Parton or seen the 1980s blockbuster of the

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.