Julia Reichert, Oscar-winning Yellow Springs filmmaker, dies at 76

YELLOW SPRINGS — Julia Reichert, the Academy Award winning filmmaker from Yellow Springs, has died at the age of 76.

Reichert died Thursday night after a battle with bladder cancer, The Hollywood Reporter reported early Friday morning. Yellow Springs Village Manager Josué Salmerón confirmed the reports to News Center 7.

>> PHOTOS: Julia Reichert, Oscar-Winning Yellow Springs filmmaker, dies at 76

Reichert’s career spanned over five decades. She’s was one of the Dayton area’s most acclaimed filmmakers and the considered by many as the godmother of the American independent film industry.

The filmmaker won an Oscar in 2020 with Steven Bognar for Best Feature Documentary for the film “American Factory.” Before then, she had received three Academy Award nominations for “Union Maids” (1976), “Seeing Red: Stories of American Communists” (1983) and “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” (2009), Deadline and IndieWire reported.

In her acceptance speech at the 2020 Academy Awards, Reichert congratulated the “tough, inventive, great people of Dayton” and said American Factory, while set in Ohio and China, had universal relevance, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Reichert and Bognar won the Primetime Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking and the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film and Digital Media for their film “A Lion in the House.”

Reichert was also a professor of Motion Pictures at Wright State University for 28 years.

Gary Schmidt, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Wright State University, said the university is saddened by Reichert’s passing.

“Her contributions as a professor, artist and tireless advocate for social justice have made our community and country a better place,” Schmidt said.

Stu McDowell, who served as Chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures for nearly 25 years, said Reichert’s life will live on in her work.

“It will also live on in her students who will in turn train other filmmakers because the generosity of spirit that she manifested in her life was unique and it’s a real blessing and a gift,” McDowell said in a release.