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Image / Editorial

Michelle and Barack Obama launch new film production company


by Grace McGettigan
27th Feb 2019

Michelle and Barack Obama have been busy since leaving the White House in 2016, announcing a new venture into film production last May.

The former president and first lady of the United States launched Higher Ground Productions with the aim to produce series, docu-series and films for Netflix.

The pair signed a multi-year deal with the streaming giant, and today, they have confirmed new details about the project.

Higher Ground

The Obamas’ new company will create both scripted and unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and films which highlight issues important to them.

Related: Seven feel-good films to watch
on Netflix when you’re sick

In a statement, Barack said, “One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience.

“That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix – we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world,” he said.

The deal with Netflix

Netflix has agreed to make all of the Obamas’ upcoming productions available on its streaming service. Ted Sarandos, the chief content officer at Netflix, said it’s something they’re “incredibly proud” about.

“Barack and Michelle Obama are among the world’s most respected and highly recognised public figures and are uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better,” he said.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Barack Obama (@barackobama) on

A female-led team

Today, Michelle and Barack Obama confirmed who’ll lead the team at Higher Ground Productions; and brilliantly, it’s an all-female line-up.

Priya Swaminathan (The Click Effect and The Fourth Dimension) and Tonia Davis (The Greatest Showman and Snatched) have been appointed as co-heads of the Obamas’ production venture. They will also be joined by Qadriyyah “Q” Shamsid-Deen (American Crime Story), who has already been confirmed as a creative executive for the company.

In a statement released by the former first couple, Michelle Obama said, “Our goal isn’t just to make people think – we want to make people feel and reach outside of their comfort zone.

Related: Michelle Obama shares powerful advice
to parents during speech in London 

“With their thoughtfulness, creativity and empathy, we know that Priya, Tonia and Q will find the common thread within every story to inspire us to be something more. I’m thrilled about this team as professionals – and as people. They’re wonderful,” she said.

Meanwhile, Barack said, “With Higher Ground Productions, we hope to bring people together around common values and uncommon stories – and Priya, Tonia and Q are precisely the people to bring that vision to life.

“They’re masterful storytellers,” he said. “They’re veterans in the industry. And they not only bring their unique perspectives and life experiences to every project, but they’re committed to finding new voices who have their own stories to tell. Michelle and I couldn’t be more excited about the team we’re assembling.”

Potential first series

There has been no confirmation about when the first project will be ready to stream as of yet; though there have been rumours that Michael Lewis’ book The Fifth Risk will be transformed into their first series. The New York Times’ bestseller details the chaotic transition from the Obama administration to that of Donald Trump.

Again, whether or not this series comes to fruition is yet to be confirmed.

Photo: Michelle and Barack Obama via @BarackObama on Instagram 


More like this:

  • Michelle Obama shares the empowering words she’d tell her younger self… here.
  • Having it all? Michelle Obama thinks Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘leaning in’ just doesn’t work… here.

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