Higher Ground, the production company of Presidents 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 voiceW. Kamau Bells 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 such as Anthony Bourdain: parts unknown.
As president of Higher Ground Productions, Malhotra will report to the Obamas. On the film side, he will work closely with Tonia Davis, who was previously head of film and TV and will now lead the company’s film 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 are thrilled that Vinnie will lead Higher Ground Productions as it continues to grow.”
Higher Ground was founded by the Obamas in 2018 with film, TV and audio divisions. As part of Higher Ground’s multi-year production deal with Netflix, upcoming projects include the film Colman Domingo starring Rustin about the civil and gay rights activist Bayard Rustin, the Julia Roberts and Mahershala Ali-led film adaptation of Leaving the world behind and the scripted drama series starring Will Forte Bodkin.
On the audio side, Higher Ground recently released the first project, with Michelle Obama, of its multi-year deal with Audible and signed 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 daring storytellers,” Malhotra said. “I am beyond excited and honored to be joining 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. team. I look forward to building on their track record of creating thought-provoking and entertaining content.”