Netflix & The Obamas’ Higher Ground Set TV & Film Slate Including ‘Firekeeper’s Daughter’ Adaptation, Tenzing Norgay Feature & National Parks Docuseries

President Barack Obama & Michelle Obama with American Factory Directors Julia Reichart & Steven Bognar Netflix

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company Higher Ground Productions has set its latest slate of film and TV projects for Netflix.

The streamer is developing two TV series and four feature films as part of the slate.

On the TV side, Reverie and Extant creator Mickey Fisher is adapting Firekeeper’s Daughter, the debut YA thriller from Angeline Boulley. The book follows an 18-year-old Native girl as she reluctantly goes undercover in a police investigation on her Ojibwe reservation. Fisher will serve as showrunner and co-write with Wenonah Wilms, the Horsehead Girls writer who is also from the Ojibwe tribe and will also act as exec producer.

Great National Parks is a natural history docuseries that comes from Blue Planet II filmmaker James Honeyborne. The series, which is produced with Wild Space Productions, will explore some of the most wondrous national parks and wild spaces on Earth and will illustrate the importance of protecting the world’s remaining wildernesses and making them accessible for all.

On the feature side, the streamer has confirmed it is developing Exit West, starring Riz Ahmed. As reported by Deadline in March 2020, the film, an adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s book, is being produced with Joe and Anthony Russo’s AGBO. Directed by Yann Demange (White Boy Rick), it is a love story set against an epic global migration enabled by a supernatural phenomenon, the story of two people as they seek a better life together, all the while yearning for a home to which they may never return

Elsewhere, Tenzing is a narrartive film based on the true story of Tenzing Norgay, the man who first reached the summit of Everest, the highest mountain in the world, along with Sir Edmund Hillary. Jennifer Peedom (Sherpa), who has spent years on Everest herself, will direct from a script by Lion’s Luke Davies based on Tenzing: Hero of Everest by Ed Douglas. Peedom and Davies are producing alongside HGP.  David Michôd (The King) and Norbu Tenzing Norgay will executive produce.

Satellite is a science fiction feature film written by Ola Shokunbi, and produced by Kiri Hart and Stephen Feder for Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman’s T Street.

The Young Wife is comes from writer and director Tayarisha Poe (Selah and the Spades). It follows Celestina, 29, on the day of her first wedding. Or not a wedding, exactly, but a party. A party where there’s movement, and Celestina is out of sync. The guests flood in; a storm approaches.

These projects build on films such as American Factory, Becoming and Crip Camp as well as recently announced animated preschool series Ada Twist, Scientist and comedy series The G Word with Adam Conover.

“We created Higher Ground to tell great stories,” said President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. “This group of projects builds upon that goal and the incredible path forged by films like Crip Camp, Becoming, and the Oscar-winning American Factory. 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. We couldn’t be more proud to team up with the brilliant artists behind each of these stories. Each of them has something important to say.”

“It has been thrilling to watch President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and the Higher Ground team dive into original programming and produce incredible stories,” added Ted Sarandos, Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer, Netflix. “American Factory, Crip Camp and Becoming have captivated audiences all around the world, and their new slate highlights the variety and depth of programming on the horizon as well as new and exciting storytellers.”

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