Barack Obama, the former US President, and his wife Michelle Obama’s production company Higher Ground Productions, in partnership with Netflix, announced six projects, including the biopic of Tenzing Norgay and novel Exit West’s film adaptation on February 5.
The content slate is in different stages of development.
Higher Ground will be presenting four films- Exit West, Satellite, Tenzing, and The Young Wife. Exit West will be a feature film that will be based on Mohsin Hamid’s novel by the same name, which Barack Obama had named as one of the best books he had read in 2017. A love story set against the backdrop of global migration due to a supernatural phenomenon, Exit West talks about how two people who want a good life together and yearn to return home. The film will star actor Riz Ahmed, who will also produce the film under his Left Handed Films banner. It will be directed by Yann Demange.
Satellite will be a sci-fi film written by Ola Shokunbi and produced by Kiri Hart and Stephen Feder. The Young Wife, which centres around a 29-year-old woman during her wedding party and incidents that unfold, will be directed by Tayarisha Poe. Tenzing will be based on the true story of Tenzing Norgay, the first person to scale Mount Everest first along with Edmund Hillary. Jennifer Peedom will direct the film.
Apart from the films, the Obamas will also be producing two series, Firekeeper’s Daughter and Great Nation Parks. The former will be based on the debut novel of Angeline Boulley (to be published in spring this year), that is the story of an 18-year-old Native American girl who goes undercover in a police investigation. It will be written by Mickey Fisher and Wenonah Wilms.
The second series, Great National Parks, will be documenting national parks and wild spaces on planet Earth. It will focus on the need to protect flora species and explore different variants and habitats. The show will be co-produced by Wild Space Productions and wildlife filmmaker James Honeyborne.
“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,” the Obamas said in a statement.
The couple signed a multiyear production deal with Netflix in 2018. Their first production, the documentary film American Factory, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2019.