Netflix and Higher Ground Productions announced today the forthcoming release of “Becoming,” a feature-length documentary following First Lady Michelle Obama around the country as she met Americans on tour for her bestselling memoir, also titled “Becoming.” Released in 2018, “Becoming” sold 1.4 million copies in its first week, and became the best-selling book in the U.S. for the year just 15 days after its debut. Netflix has also released a first look at the film, which shows Obama sitting down with a group of young African American women and sharing her experience.
The official synopsis reads: “‘Becoming’ is an intimate look into the life of former First Lady Michelle Obama during a moment of profound change, not only for her personally but for the country she and her husband served over eight impactful years in the White House. The film offers a rare and up-close look at her life, taking viewers behind the scenes as she embarks on a 34-city tour that highlights the power of community to bridge our divides and the spirit of connection that comes when we openly and honestly share our stories.”
The Netflix Original is produced by the Obamas’ fast-growing fledgling production company Higher Ground, which also released last year’s Oscar-winning documentary “American Factory.” It is executive produced by Higher Ground’s Priya Swaminathan and Tonia Davis, and produced by Lauren Cioffi, an associate documentary programmer for the Sundance Film Festival.
In a statement about the project, Mrs. Obama took the opportunity to address this unprecedented moment in history with her characteristic warmth and wisdom:
“Those months I spent traveling — meeting and connecting with people in cities across the globe — drove home the idea that what we share in common is deep and real and can’t be messed with. In groups large and small, young and old, unique and united, we came together and shared stories, filling those spaces with our joys, worries, and dreams. We processed the past and imagined a better future. In talking about the idea of ‘becoming,’ many of us dared to say our hopes out loud.
I treasure the memories and that sense of connection now more than ever, as we struggle together to weather this pandemic, as we care for our loved ones, tend to our communities, and try to keep up with work and school while coping with huge amounts of loss, confusion, and uncertainty.”
She went on to praise “Becoming” director Nadia Hallgren, a prolific documentary cinematographer who is making her feature directorial debut with the project.
“She’s a rare talent,” wrote the First Lady. “Someone whose intelligence and compassion for others comes through in every frame she shoots. Most importantly, she understands the meaning of community, the power of community, and her work is magically able to depict it.”
“My focus has always been the craft of cinema vérité. To make this film feel intimate I knew I had to get close,” Hallgren wrote in a statement. “I filmed in tight, private spaces in a way that required the smallest possible footprint.”
Ntflix will release “Becoming” globally on May 6. Check out the first look teaser below.