Obamas’ Netflix Partnership, Higher Ground Productions, Names Lead Executives

(L to r) Tonia Davis, Priya Swaminathan and Qadriyyah “Q” Shamsid-Deen

Higher Ground Productions, a partnership between Netflix and former President Obama and his wife, Michelle, named its top executives on Tuesday.

The co-heads of the Hollywood production company are Priya Swaminathan, who recently oversaw film development at Annapurna, and Tonia Davis, a former Chernin Entertainment executive. Davis has led film and TV projects, including serving as executive producer on the comedy “Snatched” and the movie musical “The Greatest Showman.”

Qadriyyah “Q” Shamsid-Deen will be the company’s creative executive. She was previously a program director at Ryan Murphy Television’s Half Initiative, an effort to make Hollywood more inclusive of women and people of color in roles such as directors.

The key executives will be instrumental in leading the company’s projects, which are to include scripted, unscripted and documentary-style series and documentary films. Last year, the company announced its deal with Netflix.

“With Higher Ground Productions, we hope to bring people together around common values and uncommon stories — and Priya, Tonia and Q are precisely the people to bring that vision to life,” Barack Obama said in a statement. “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.”


(Article written by Wendy Lee)