Netflix and Higher Ground, the production company founded by Barack and Michelle Obama, have acquired the highly acclaimed documentary American Symphony.
Directed by Oscar nominee Matthew Heineman, American Symphony made waves at the Telluride Film Festival. It follows the celebrated musician Jon Batiste, who celebrated a massive career high last year while his wife, Suleika Jaouad, battled leukaemia.
The acquisition followed a fierce bidding war, as per The Hollywood Reporter and positions American Symphony as a frontrunner in this year’s best documentary feature Oscar race.
Netflix has announced plans for a major Oscar campaign to promote the film, adding to Netflix’s already impressive list of documentary feature contenders.
The film received acclaim at its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, where Jon Batiste performed in support of the project.
The Obamas expressed their enthusiasm for the project, stating, “The themes of resilience and love at the heart of American Symphony resonate deeply with us — and we’re thrilled to bring the film into the Higher Ground family. Jon and Suleika’s journey of grace and strength echoes the experience of so many families who are forced to navigate the complications that surface when dreams meet adversity.”
The statement continued, “For many years, Jon’s music has helped provide a soundtrack to our lives, and we’re grateful for the partnership he and Suleika have offered on issues like voting rights and the fight against cancer. We could not be more proud to join in telling their story and lift up the work of a talented filmmaker like Matt Heineman. Matt weaves a poignant tapestry of courage, love, and music and we are honoured for Higher Ground to help share it with the world.”
American Symphony marks a more commercial endeavour for Heineman, who has previously tackled topics such as drug cartels, ISIS, and the COVID pandemic with Cartel Land, City of Ghosts, The First Wave, and Retrograde.