Hollywood: Barack Obama- and Michelle Obama-promoted production company Higher Ground Productions has announced a new slate of upcoming projects in partnership with Netflix.
The content encompasses a range of fiction, non-fiction and kids & family across both series and feature films. This announcement builds on their existing slate of projects which includes Academy Award-winning documentary American Factory, the Emmy Award-nominated Becoming, as well as the acclaimed Crip Camp, winner of the 2021 International Documentary Association award for Best Feature.
Higher Ground Productions, which is co-led by Priya Swaminathan and Tonia Davis, along with Ada Chiaghana and Alex Pitz, focuses on telling stories that embody the values the Obamas have championed throughout their lives. The projects selected are a reflection of these values and a commitment to quality storytelling. Higher Ground expects to make additional project announcements in the coming months.
Higher Ground produces scripted films, TV series, children’s programs and documentaries exclusively with Netflix, and podcasts exclusively with Spotify. Its first release American Factory won the 2019 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, and its first podcast, The Michelle Obama Podcast, was its biggest Spotify Original in history.
“We created Higher Ground to tell great stories,” said Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. “This group of projects builds upon that goal and the incredible path forged by films like Crip Camp, Becoming, and the Oscar-winning American Factory. From science fiction to the beauty of our natural world to the relationships that define us, Higher Ground continues to strive for fresh perspectives, compelling characters, and a healthy dose of inspiration. We couldn’t be prouder to team up with the brilliant artists behind each of these stories. Each of them has something important to say.”
“It has been thrilling to watch President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and the Higher Ground team dive into original programming and produce incredible stories,” said Netflix Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “American Factory, Crip Camp Becoming have captivated audiences all around the world, and their new slate highlights the variety and depth of programming on the horizon as well as new and exciting storytellers.”
Projects currently in different stages of development, to be released over the next several years (all titles are working titles), include the following:
Exit West is a feature film based on Mohsin Hamid’s critically-acclaimed novel. A love story set against an epic global migration enabled by a supernatural phenomenon, Exit West is the story of two people as they seek a better life together, all the while yearning for a home to which they may never return. The New York Times named the novel one of the 10 Best Books of 2017, it was selected for the Booker Prize longlist, and former U.S. President Barack Obama named it one of the best books he read in 2017. The film stars Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) who will also executive produce via his Left Handed Films banner, and will be directed by Yann Demange (White Boy Rick) and co-produced with Joe Russo, Anthony Russo and Mike Larocca for the Russos’ AGBO.