The Obamas Just Announced Seven New Movies and Series for Netflix

Including a series from 'The Big Short' writer, a Frederick Douglass biopic, and a kids show called 'Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents.'
April 30, 2019, 6:16pm
Barack and Michelle Obama
Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A year ago, the Barack and Michelle Obama announced that they'd be following up their massive, multi-million-dollar book deals with, uh, a massive Netflix deal. The streaming service basically gave the Obamas free rein to produce whatever film or TV projects their hearts desired under the pair's new production banner, Higher Ground. Now the Obamas have unveiled their first seven projects—and it looks like they're going to be making everything from kids shows to a Frederick Douglass biopic, according to Netflix.


Higher Ground's extremely varied slate of projects also includes a post-WWII period drama, a documentary about Ohio factory workers, and an adaptation of Big Short author Michael Lewis's new book, The Fifth Risk, about the dysfunctional shitshow that is our government.

"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 in a statement Tuesday. “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."

Here's a complete rundown of the seven projects in development, via Netflix:

American Factory

A documentary feature that "takes a deep dive into a post-industrial Ohio, where a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant and hires two thousand blue collar Americans." The film was picked up by Netflix and Higher Ground after it won Best Directing in a US Documentary at Sundance earlier this year.


This scripted drama series from Thelma and Louise screenwriter Callie Khouri is "set in the world of fashion in post-WWII New York City" and centers around "barriers faced by women and by people of color in an era marked by hurdles but also tremendous progress."

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

A feature-length biopic about Frederick Douglass, based on David W. Blight's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of the same name.


A scripted anthology series based on the New York Times's long-running obituary column, "telling the stories of remarkable people whose deaths were not reported by the newspaper."

Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents

A children's show from Drunk History's Jeremy Konner and actress Erika Thormahlen aimed at preschool-aged kids. The show "will take young children and their families around the globe on an adventure that tells us the story of our food."

Fifth Risk

A non-fiction series based on Big Short and Moneyball author Michael Lewis's book The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy.

Crip Camp

A feature-length documentary about a summer camp in upstate New York where, "just down the road from Woodstock, in the early 1970s, a parallel revolution blossomed in a ramshackle summer camp for disabled teenagers that would transform young lives, and America forever by helping to set in motion the disability rights movement." It is co-directed by a former camper, Jim LeBrecht.

The seven projects are set to roll out over the next couple years, but given the multi-year deal the Obamas have with Netflix, these will probably just be the start of Higher Ground's tenure on the streaming service. Hopefully Obama will tap into his inner nerd and get weird with a sci-fi show next, or a choose-your-own-adventure series about being Leader of the Free World, or maybe a Parks & Rec-style comedy, since the Obamas have been known to love that show. We'll need something to fill that Office-sized hole in our hearts anyway.

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