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Obamas unveil slate of series, documentaries for Netflix

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / 2017

    In this photo, former President Barack Obama, right, and former first lady Michelle Obama appear at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago. The Obamas have unveiled a slate of projects in development for Netflix, a year after the former president and first lady signed a deal with the streaming platform. The Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground Productions, announced today, a total of seven films and series that Barack Obama said will entertain but also “educate, connect and inspire us all.”

NEW YORK >> Barack and Michelle Obama today unveiled a slate of projects they are preparing for Netflix, a year after the former president and first lady signed a deal with the streaming platform.

The Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground Productions, today announced a total of seven films and series that Barack Obama said will entertain but also “educate, connect and inspire us all.”

Higher Ground is producing a feature film on Frederick Douglass, adapted from David W. Blight’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography. Also in the works is a documentary series that adapts Michael Lewis’ “Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy,” the “Moneyball” author’s 2018 best-seller about government servants working under the political appointees of Donald Trump’s administration.

The production company’s first release will be Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s Sundance Film Festival documentary “American Factory,” about a Chinese-owned factory in post-industrial Ohio. Netflix and Higher Ground also acquired Jim LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham’s “Crip Camp,” a documentary about a summer camp for disabled teenager founded in upstate New York in the early 1970s.

The Obamas are also developing an upstairs-downstairs drama set in post-WWII New York titled “Bloom,” and an adaptation of The New York Times “Overlooked” obituary column, about deaths unreported by the paper. A half-hour show for preschoolers titled “Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents” will instruct kids about 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 said. “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.”

The projects are to be released over the next several years.

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