Higher Grounds was formed a year ago with the intent to develop and produce scripted and unscripted TV and film projects that "celebrate the human spirit through struggles and triumph" and that lift up "new voices and stories to bring about change". Their firm, called Higher Ground, is being run by filmmakers Priya Swaminathan and Tonia Davis. Qadriyyah "Q" Shamsid-Deen will also serve as a creative executive for the company.
The seven projects range from acquisitions to new material, fiction to non-fiction and content aimed at adults and at children.
"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", she added. "We can't wait to see these projects come to life - and the conversations they'll generate", the former first lady said.
Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix, said the content exemplifies the Obamas' core values. "The breadth of their initial slate across series, film, documentary, and family programming shows their commitment to diverse creators and unique voices that will resonate with our members around the world". Higher Ground did not announce a screenwriter or any producers. The film looks at the opening of a GM plant in OH by a Chinese billionaire, and the culture clash that ensues as working-class America comes into contact with Chinese industry.
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"American Factory" - a documentary that premiered at Sundance earlier this year about a Chinese billionaire who opens a glass factory at an abandoned General Motors plant outside Dayton. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America. It was produced by Participant Media, with Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert and Julie Parker Benello serving as producers.
The Obamas are also developing "Bloom", an upstairs-downstairs drama set in post-World War II New York City, and an adaptation of The New York Times "Overlooked" obituary column, about deaths unreported by the paper.
"Higher Ground" - a film adaptation of David W. Blight's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography "Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom". Check out the full list and descriptions right here, via the New York Times.
"Fifth Risk" is a non-fiction series based on "The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy", a book by best-selling author Michael Lewis ("The Big Short", "Moneyball"). The film is now in production with support from the Sundance Institute. They also feature a documentary titled Crip Camp about the history of disability rights and the movement behind them, and a half-hour kids program titled Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents. The film is directed by former camper Jim LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham.