Obamas Name Top Production Studio Team
Priya Swaminathan and Tonia Daviswill co-lead Barack and Michelle Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions, and Qadriyyah “Q” Shamsid-Deen will serve as the lead creative executive. “With Higher Ground Productions, we hope to bring people together around common values and uncommon stories,” POTUS44 said. “They’re masterful storytellers. They’re veterans in the industry. And they not only bring their unique perspectives and life experiences to every project, but they’re committed to finding new voices who have their own stories to tell.” Swaminathan worked at Annapurna Pictures and produced documentaries for MTV and ESPN, along with Showtime’s human trafficking film, Very Young Girls, a 2007 documentary on New York's teenage prostitutes. She also worked for Annapurna Pictures and Dickhouse Productions. Swaminathan was also a part of the Sundance Institute's FilmTwo initiative that focused on encouraging minority filmmakers. She's also been involved more recently in the Time's Up Initiative to combat sexual harassment, as well as Democratic politics and other areas of social activism. Shamsid-Deen was a program director for Ryan Murphy Television’s Half Initiative. Before that, she worked with Brad Simpson and Nina Jacobson at Color Force. "Our goal isn’t just to make people think—we want to make people feel and reach outside of their comfort zone,” Michelle Obama said in a statement. “With their thoughtfulness, creativity and empathy, we know that Priya, Tonia and Q will find the common thread within every story to inspire us to be something more. I’m thrilled about this team as professionals—and as people. They’re wonderful.” Swaminathan and Shamsid-Deen will be joined by Davis, who was most recently with Chermin Entertainment, where she executive produced Hugh Jackman's musical The Greatest Showman and the Amy Schumer comedy Snatched. More here.