When I heard that American Factory would be the first project released by the Obamas' Higher Ground Productions partnership with Netflix, I knew this would have to be good. But film makers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert's documentary about the Chinese takeover of an abandoned GM plant in Dayton, Ohio eclipsed any expectations I had going in. Enveloped within this exploration of labor, trade, and the challenges of globalization is a stunning narrative of humanity. As is life, the story is hopeful, tragic, messy, and yet remarkably simple all at the same time.
For me, acting always served a very specific purpose. When I first started, I couldn't have been more than 5 or 6, it was for pure, innocent joy. Relentless pleading from their boisterous and self-assured child left my parents with little choice, but to enroll me in acting classes. Then, around 12, my hobby turned into a career. This career would fill my days with acting classes and auditions. Days turned into years. There would be the occasional triumph, those fortunate moments when working meant going to set and earning a paycheck. But more often than not, working meant class, practice, audition, repeat. It wasn't until more recently in life, when the realities of adulthood brought forth new and unfamiliar experiences, that it came to serve yet another distinct purpose.
A few days ago I got a text from a close family friend asking if I wanted to go on a tour of the Congreso de los Diputados. Of course I accepted, not thinking much of it. It wasn’t until I arrived that I realized what I had signed up for. We had been invited on a private tour of the Spanish government and parliament house! These buildings are only opened to the public once a year, and here we were getting our own tour!
This is an open letter to all of the smart, informed, interested, and compassionate young people of my generation.