Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, the dynamic filmmaking team behind this year’s American Factory, shared the 2019 Robert and Anne Drew Award for Documentary Excellence. American Factory went on to win the Oscar for Feature Documentary, the third time the filmmakers who won this award went on to capture the year’s Academy Award.
The Robert and Anne Drew Award honors a mid-career filmmaker or partnership that excels in observational filmmaking, carrying on the tradition of cinema verite that was at the heart of Drew’s original films. The award was presented at the Visionaries Tribute Award Luncheon at the DOC NYC Festival on November 12, 2019. Reichert and Bognar shared the $5,000 cash prize sponsored by Drew Associates.
The award’s name celebrates Drew Associates’ Founder Robert Drew and his wife Anne, who was his filmmaking partner for more than four decades.
Reichert and Bognar’s work is marked by a deep respect for working-class subjects. Previous films include the Oscar-nominated short The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant; and the feature A Lion in the House. Reichert was Oscar-nominated for her documentary feature films Union Maids and Seeing Red: Stories of American Communists. Her first film was Growing Up Female, which is on the National Film Registry. Bognar’s solo films are Personal Belongings, Picture Day and Gravel.
Past recipients of the Robert and Anne Drew Award are Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, Dawn Porter, Kim Longinotto and Laura Poitras.