Julia Reichert: “Documentarian of the Working Class”
Play • 22 min

Julia Reichert’s death from cancer on December 1 at the age of 76 made headlines across the country. Most of them called her an “Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker” and that was certainly true: she was a four-time Academy Award-nominated director, for 1977’s Union Maids, Seeing Red: Stories of American Communists in 1984, The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant in 2010 and American Factory, for which she won an Oscar in 2020.

But we thought Julia would have really got a kick out of The New York Times, which called her “Documentarian of the Working Class.” Back in 2020, Julia talked with 9 to 5 co-founder Karen Nussbaum about how her working-class upbringing informed her work as much as her left politics; she offered advice for chronicling the pandemic, and told what it was like to give her acceptance speech at the Academy Awards that year.

The interview, originally published in The American Prospect in April 2020, ran in two parts on the Labor History Today podcast; you can hear the first part here today on Labor Goes to the Movies, and the second part will run in this Sunday’s Labor History Today podcast.

Produced by Chris Garlock

@dclabor @LaborHeritage1 @karenbnussbaum @TheProspect

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