According to the former President of the U.S. the seven films and series will not just entertain viewers but is also set to "educate, connect and inspire us all."
On Tuesday, Michelle and Barack Obama's production company, Higher Ground Productions, along with online streaming site Netflix unveiled their upcoming projects. The two have collaborated to produce seven films and series. The former President and former First Lady signed the multi-year deal with the online streaming site last spring. The list of content comprises a wide range of fiction and nonfiction signature productions for audiences across demographics. There are currently seven projects on the slate in total. These will also include scripted and non-scripted docu-series as well as feature-length films and documentaries. The productions are said to reflect on the Higher Ground's core values of resilience, determination, hope, and unity. They are also said to raise new voices and portray stories that will inspire change. Along with spreading meaningful and necessary messages to the viewers, the productions will also entertain the viewers.
“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.”
https://t.co/Qdr5PjzccR "... and a drama series called Bloom set in the world of fashion in postwar New York." Not what I was expecting but YES PLEASE!— Sarra Manning (@sarramanning) April 30, 2019
“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. 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," Michelle Obama added in a statement.
The first release is called 'American Factory'. The Sundance Award-winning documentary is directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert. The film revolves around a Chinese billionaire who opens a factory in an abandoned General Motors plant in the Midwest. The official synopsis reads, "In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America."
The second production is called 'Overlooked'. According to Higher Ground Productions, it is an adaptation of a New York Times ongoing recurring feature called 'Overlooked'. It is a series of obituaries that tells the stories of those remarkable people whose deaths were previously not reported in the newspapers. "Since 1851, obituaries in The New York Times have been dominated by white men. Now, we’re adding the stories of other remarkable people."
Some of the obituaries on the section include that of Ida B. Wells (1862-1931), who took on racism in the Deep South with powerful reporting on lynchings, Qiu Jin (C. 1875-1907), who was a feminist poet and revolutionary who became a martyr known as China’s ‘Joan of Arc,' and Mary Ewing Outerbridge (1852-1886), who established what may have been America’s first tennis court in the 1870s.
The next production is known as 'Bloom". This drama series is set in post-WWII New York City and focuses on the world of fashion. It throws light on the hurdles that women and people of color had to face during the time. The series also talks about the extensive progress during that era at the same time. The series is written and executive produced by Oscar winner Callie Khouri (from an idea developed by Khouri) writer-director Clement Virgo (The Book of Negroes, The Wire, Empire) and novelist and producer Juliana Maio (City of the Sun). Higher Ground Productions, Khouri, Virgo, and Maio will executive produce the series.
The Obamas have unveiled their first slate of Netflix projects, including post-WWII drama BLOOM from Callie Khouri and an anthology series based on NYT obituary column OVERLOOKEDhttps://t.co/7NSBmtT1aZ— Natalie Jarvey (@natjarv) April 30, 2019
The next feature film that is part of the entire project is an adaptation of 'Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom'. Author David W. Blight won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in History for his work. Douglas was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After managing to escape slavery in Maryland, he became the national leader for the abolitionist movement. This feature film is one that most people are looking forward to despite the fact that none of the cast or crew has been announced as of yet.
Higher Ground will develop a nonfiction series from Michael Lewis' 'Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy' The series talks about the lives and work of the government servants that are working under the appointees of Donald Trump's administration. The aim of the series is to show the audience the real heroes who actually guide the American government. It shows the importance of all the work that does not fall under the limelight (but truly deserves to).
The project includes something for children as well. It consists of a half-hour family-programming series called "Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents". The show is said to "take young children and their families around the globe on an adventure that tells us the story of our food." Lastly, the project consists of a feature documentary film called 'Crip Camp'. The documentary film focuses on the origins of the disability rights movement.