No sooner did they announce the formation of Higher Ground Productions, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company in partnership with Netflix, have revealed the company’s initial slate of upcoming projects. The content encompasses a wide range of fiction and non-fiction signature productions for all audiences including scripted, unscripted and documentary series, as well as full-length features.
The couple launched Higher Ground last spring to create "content that embodies the core values of celebrating the human spirit through struggles and triumph; facing adversity through resilience, determination, and hope; lifting up new voices and stories to bring about change, and transcending divides to bring us together." The projects selected are a reflection of these values and a commitment to quality storytelling and offer a glimpse of what is to come; Higher Ground expects to make additional project announcements in the coming months.
“We created Higher Ground to harness the power of storytelling. That’s why we couldn’t be more excited about these projects,” President Obama said. “Touching on issues of race and class, democracy and civil rights, and much more, we believe each of these productions won’t just entertain but will educate, connect, and inspire us all.”
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“We think there’s something here for everyone—moms and dads, curious kids, and anyone simply looking for an engaging, uplifting watch at the end of a busy day. We can’t wait to see these projects come to life — and the conversations they’ll generate,” added Michelle Obama.
Projects currently in different stages of development include:
This was acquired after the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Directing Award: U.S. Documentary. The acclaimed film takes a deep dive into a post-industrial Ohio, where a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant and hires two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.
Bloom is an upstairs/downstairs drama series set in the world of fashion in post-WWII New York City that depicts barriers faced by women and by people of colour in an era marked by hurdles but also tremendous progress. Written and executive produced by Academy Award-winner® Callie Khouri of Nashville and Thelma and Louise - this will be one to look out for.
Adapted from The New York Times’ ongoing obituary column Overlooked, telling the stories of remarkable people whose deaths were not reported by the newspaper, Higher Ground is developing it as a scripted anthology series.
Listen to your Vegetables and Eat your Parents
For family programming, this series will be a half-hour preschool series from creators Jeremy Konner (“Drunk History”) and Erika Thormahlen. The show will take young children and their families around the globe on an adventure that tells us the story of food.
Crip Camp is a feature-length documentary film. Just down the road from Woodstock, in the early 1970s, a parallel revolution blossomed in a ramshackle summer camp for disabled teenagers that would transform young lives, and America forever by helping to set in motion the disability rights movement.
If they have the Obama seal of approval, you just know they are going to be good.
Main photo: @Variety