Barack and Michelle Obama

Barack and Michelle Obama to Produce Frederick Douglass Biopic in Upcoming Slate of Film Projects

Frederick Douglass, the first Black man nominated for Vice President of the United States, will have his life story told through the lens of Barack and Michelle Obama, the first Black President and First Lady. 

It was announced on Tuesday that the Obama’s Higher Ground Productions is producing a feature film adaptation of author David W. Blight’s “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom,” for which he won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in History. Douglass (1818-1895), an influential figure in American history, escaped slavery and became a leading abolitionist, formative writer, stirring orator, statesman and photography theorist.

Related Story: Frederick Douglass: A Believer in the Social Power of Photography

The film on Douglass is one of seven projects slated to be released on Netflix. 

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.”

Michelle Obama said:

“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.”

Higher Ground Productions is home to a wide range of scripted, unscripted and documentary-style series, as well as feature-length narrative and documentary films. Their first release is “American Factory,” a Sundance award-winning documentary. The film explores post-industrial Ohio, where a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned auto plant and hires 2,000 blue-collar Americans.

The films are in development and will be released over the next few years. Last May, Barack and Michelle Obama announced their multiyear deal.

Beyoncé also chose Netflix to release her latest documentary, “Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé,” last month. After the film was released, Michelle Obama tweeted a video message with the caption, “So proud of my girl! The Queen has done it again. Beyoncé, thank you for always living your truth.”

Learn more about Higher Ground’s upcoming films.

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