Giannis Antetokounmpo has become a movie producer eyeing an Oscar with the National Geographic documentary The Flagmakers.
The Greek basketball player recently signed on to the National Geographic documentary as executive producer, and it looks like a strong Oscar contender.
The film tells the story of the factory workers who make almost five million American flags per year. Eder Flag, the employee-owned firm based in Oak Tree, Wisconsin is the biggest manufacturer of flags and flagpoles in the United States. However, with the exception of a few locals, most of the employees are former refugees and immigrants.
That, in fact, is the topic of the short documentary produced by National Geographic and directed by former Oscar winners Cynthia Wade and Sharon Liese. The film examines the importance of immigrant labor in America and the meaning of the America Dream to the hundreds of thousands who flee to the U.S. each year.
The director and producer of Flagmakers stated that “when we first walked into this midwestern flag factory staffed by immigrants, refugees and locals, we instantly saw that this would be an ideal setting to explore the layered and deeply-nuanced relationships Americans have to our flag and to our country.”
Wade and Liese therefore focus not only on their success but also their hardships. In particular, they highlight the flagmakers’ struggles integrating into American society in the face of anti-immigration sentiment, xenophobia, and racism.
Giannis Antetokounmpo turns into movie producer eying an Oscar
There is Ali for example, a survivor of the Iraq War. He has to learn sewing after arriving in America days before filming begins. In another scenario, Midwestern-born Barb’s genuine friendships with her immigrant co-workers starkly contrast with the conservative beliefs of her upbringing.
Furthermore, a Black man named Sugar Ray, born and raised in Milwaukee, contemplates his difficult relationship with America. Each person considers what the American flag represents in a changing nation and world and for whom. The Flagmakers is an intimate glimpse into the people whose hands make the most recognizable icon of the United States.
“As an immigrant myself, I find this film incredibly personal and a deeply moving testament to those who call this country home,” the Milwaukee Bucks player says. He emphasizes that “each one of these inspiring individuals have overcome adversity and challenges in their lives and bring those unique experiences and stories [with them] as they craft the American flag.”
This is not the first venture into filmmaking for the star player. In May of this year, Disney released Rise, the movie about his own life as an immigrant and his stellar climb out of poverty. Both are cinematic productions worth watching.
Official Trailer of The Flagmakers