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Barack, Michelle Obama Unveil Initial Slate of Netflix Projects

Seven titles spanning scripted and unscripted docuseries, full-length features and documentaries in works

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama. Former President Barack Obama, right, and former first lady Michelle Obama arrive for the first session of the Obama Foundation Summit, in ChicagoObama Sumit, Chicago, USA - 31 Oct 2017

Barack and Michelle Obama's Higher Ground Productions and Netflix have announced their initial slate of projects.

AP/REX/Shutterstock

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground Productions, along with Netflix have unveiled their initial slate of upcoming projects. The former President and First Lady signed a multi-year deal with the streaming service last spring.

Seven projects are in the initial slate that span scripted and unscripted docuseries as well as feature-length films and documentaries. The offerings will reflect Higher Ground’s core values of resilience, determination, hope and unity while lifting new voices and stories that inspire change.

“We created Higher Ground to harness the power of storytelling. That’s why we couldn’t be more excited about these projects,” Barack Obama said in a statement. “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.”

Their first release is American Factory, the Sundance award-winning documentary directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert that follows a Chinese billionaire who opens a factory in an abandoned General Motors plant in the Midwest. Feature-length documentary Crip Camp, which details the story of the summer camp for disabled teenagers that helped set in motion the disability rights movement, is also on tap.

Additional projects include Bloom, a post-WWII drama series that “depicts barriers faced by women and by people of color in an era marked by hurdles but also tremendous progress”; an anthology series based on New York Times‘ Overlooked obituary column; and a non-fiction series called Fifth Risk, based on author Michael Lewis’ book that will portray “the unheralded work done by everyday heroes guiding our government and safeguarding our nation.”

On the feature film front, Higher Ground is producing an adaptation of David W. Blight’s Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, which won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in History. There is also a preschool series entitled Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents that will travel the globe to tell the story of food.

“We love this slate because it spans so many different interests and experiences, yet it’s all woven together with stories that are relevant to our daily lives,” Michelle Obama added in a statement. “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.”

The Higher Ground projects are currently in development and will be released over the next several years.

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