Retirees Association

Julia Reichert, 76, Professor of Motion Pictures

Julia Reichert

Julia Reichert, a longtime film professor at Wright State University who was known as the “godmother of American independent documentaries,” died at her home in Yellow Springs. She was 76.

Over her 50-year career as a filmmaker and teacher, Reichert was an active builder of the American documentary community. Her films, co-directed with longtime Wright State professor Jim Klein and later with former Wright State faculty member and alumnus Steven Bognar, have given voice to women and working people, infusing their stories with urgency and dignity.

Reichert, professor emeritus of motion pictures, and Bognar won the Oscar for best feature documentary for “American Factory” in February 2020.

“Our film is from Ohio and China,” Reichert said during her acceptance speech. “… But it really could be from anywhere that people put on a uniform and punch a clock, trying to make their families have a better life. Working people have it harder and harder these days. We believe that things will get better when workers of the world unite.”

“American Factory” also received the Best Directing Award for U.S. Documentary at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. The documentary was produced by Higher Ground, Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, and is available to stream on Netflix.