Eleven months after striking a deal with Netflix, the Obamas have a slate of programming.
Barack and Michelle Obama’s new production company, Higher Ground Productions, announced seven projects that are in the works for Netflix, including several documentaries and a movie about Frederick Douglass.
The former president and first lady have said that their production company will cover a wide spectrum of programming, but there is one thing they apparently have no interest in: Creating third-rail political material. The Obamas are intent on avoiding any material that could inflame tensions at a red hot political moment, particularly as the 2020 presidential election begins to ramp up.
“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,” Barack Obama said in a statement.
Here’s an early look at the shows and films the Obamas are planning:
- American Factory, a documentary directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert that examines life in Ohio where a Chinese billionaire opened a factory in a former General Motors plant and hired 2,000 people. Higher Ground Productions described it as “early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.”
- Bloom, a drama series set in post-Second World War New York, will explore the “barriers faced by women and by people of color in an era marked by hurdles but also tremendous progress.” It will be produced by Callie Khouri, who wrote Thelma & Louise.
- A film adaptation of David W. Blight’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. Higher Grounds did not announce a screenwriter or any producers.
- Adapting a New York Times recurring feature called Overlooked, a series of obituaries about people whose deaths were previously not reported by the newspaper. Higher Ground Productions said it would be a scripted anthology series.
- A nonfiction series adapted from Michael Lewis’ book The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy.
- A documentary film, Crip Camp, about the origins of the disability rights movement.
- A half-hour series for preschoolers called Listen To Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents that will “take young children and their families around the globe on an adventure that tells us the story of our food.”