Latest Reichert-Bognar documentary project hits the air, Web

Photo of Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar with Sheri "Sparkle" Williams

Former Wright State film professor Julia Reichert (left) and motion pictures alumnus Steven Bognar (right) pose at Sparkle’s Dayton premiere with DCDC dancer Sheri “Sparkle” Williams. The couple’s current project is ReInvention Stories.

Inventive ideas such as the transformation of a neighborhood eyesore into a promising brewpub have come to life on the air and the Web thanks to a team of filmmakers with Wright State connections.

ReInvention Stories, a collaboration between the filmmakers and WYSO 91.3 FM in Yellow Springs, began airing and appearing on the Web on Jan. 9. The transmedia project includes radio, documentary cinema and online nonfiction storytelling.

“The cool part for the people of Dayton is there is going to be a series of stories on how a town of inventors is reinventing itself in a time of economic challenge,” said Julia Reichert, who helped film the series.

The filmmakers and WYSO staffers, led by Reichert and Wright State filmmaker Steve Bognar, walked the neighborhoods of the Miami Valley last summer, meeting with residents on their porches, in their driveways, walking their dogs, and in parks with their families.The result were very human stories of adversity, resilience and reinvention.

The stories can be heard on WYSO every Wednesday during Morning Edition and again each Sunday on WYSO Weekend. Each radio piece has a short film to accompany it, which can be found right on

The first story highlights the Fifth Street Brewpub, a co-op scheduled to open later this year.  It is the result of “reinventing” the blighted former American Saloon in Dayton’s Saint Anne’s Hill Historic District.

The project’s collaborative organizations include WYSO 91.3, ZEEGA, Wright State University and CELIA, Wright State’s Ohio Center of Excellence in Collaboration, Education and Leadership in the Arts.

WYSO General Manager Neenah Ellis said working with Reichert and Bognar has been a game-changing experience for WYSO.

“In addition to producing amazing documentaries, Julia and Steve have trained and collaborated with our staff throughout the project, making this an amazing group effort,” Ellis said. “The results will ripple out into the community for years to come.”

Reichert recently left the ranks of Wright State motion pictures faculty to return to full-time filmmaking. Bognar currently serves as a lecturer, filmmaker-in-residence and film community outreach liaison at Wright State.

Reichert has been called “a godmother of the American documentary movement.” Her films include Academy Award nominees Union Maids and Seeing Red. Her 1971 documentary Growing Up Female was added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2012. Bognar’s films Personal Belongings, Picture Day and Gravel each premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Together, the pair has produced a string of highly acclaimed documentaries, including A Lion in the House (Primetime Emmy winner), The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant (Academy Award nominee) and Sparkle (Audience Award winner at the 2012 SilverDocs Film Festival).

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