Barack and Michelle Obama hire Priya Swaminathan, a seasoned entertainment executive with a background in documentaries and social activism, to work at the Los Angeles-based Netflix production company. She will team with the Obamas on developing new Hollywood projects, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Swaminathan is the former director of development at Annapurna Pictures. She produced and co-directed Very Young Girls, a 2007 documentary on New York’s teenage prostitutes that aired on Showtime. She formerly worked for Dickhouse Productions. Swaminathan has served as an industry advisor for the Sundance Institute’s FilmTwo Initiative to encourage minority filmmakers. She’s also been recently involved in the Time’s Up Initiative.
In May, Netflix announced that it signed the Obamas to a multiple-year deal to produce films and TV series.
The Obamas will produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features. The Obamas have established Higher Ground Productions as the entity under which they will produce content for Netflix.
“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” said President Obama. “That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix – we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.”
“Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others,” said the former first lady.
Swaminathan, a filmmaker and the former director of development at Annapurna Pictures, produced and co-directed “Very Young Girls,” a 2007 documentary on New York’s teenage prostitutes that aired on Showtime, and she formerly worked for Dickhouse Productions, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She also worked as an industry advisor for the Sundance Institute’s FilmTwo Initiative, which focuses on encouraging minority filmmakers. A social activist, she’s been closely associated with the Time’s Up Initiative, among others.
As a producer, Swaminathan has worked on a few documentaries like “The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia.” Her resume also includes working as a 3D artist on Bollywood films like “My Name is Khan” and “De Dana Dan.”