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Higher Ground, the production company from President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, has hired Vinnie Malhotra to lead the company’s film and TV division.
Malhotra most recently oversaw documentary, unscripted and scripted programming based on real-life events for Showtime Networks; projects included the Roger Ailes limited series The Loudest Voice, W. Kamau Bell’s We Need to Talk About Cosby and the upcoming spy drama Ghosts of Beirut. Prior to Showtime, Malhotra led development and acquisitions for CNN original series like Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.
As president of Higher Ground Productions, Malhotra will report up to the Obamas. On the film side, he will work closely with Tonia Davis, who previously served as the head of film and TV and will now lead the company’s motion picture development and production.
“Vinnie has decades of experience bringing bold and compelling stories to life with a consistent blend of creative vision and integrity,” the Obamas said in a joint statement. “We’re thrilled that Vinnie will be leading Higher Ground Productions as it continues to grow.”
Higher Ground was founded in 2018 by the Obamas with divisions for film, TV and audio. As part of Higher Ground’s multiyear production deal with Netflix, upcoming projects include the Colman Domingo–starring film Rustin about the civil rights and gay rights activist Bayard Rustin, the Julia Roberts and Mahershala Ali–led film adaptation of Leave the World Behind and the Will Forte–starring scripted drama series Bodkin.
On the audio side, Higher Ground most recently released the first project, with Michelle Obama, from its multiyear deal with Audible and struck an ad sales and distribution deal with Acast.
“Like so many other Americans, I have long admired President and Mrs. Obama for their leadership, vision, and the many ways they have used their voices to champion creative and bold storytellers,” Malhotra said. “I’m beyond excited and honored to join them as well as [head of business and strategy] Joe [Paulsen], Tonia [Davis], [head of audio] Dan [Fierman] and the rest of the talented Higher Ground team. I look forward to building upon their track record of creating thought-provoking and entertaining content.”
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