Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

Given the subject matter of Jen Peedom’s first narrative feature, it is somewhat fitting the project has been included in Higher Ground’s production slate.

The production company, owned by Barack and Michelle Obama, will partner with the filmmaker and Netflix on Tenzing – a feature film based on the true story of Tenzing Norgay, the man who first reached the summit of Everest along with Sir Edmund Hillary. 

Luke Davies (Lion) wrote the script based on the book Tenzing: Hero of Everest by Ed Douglas.

Peedom, who operates Stranger Than Fiction Films alongside Jo-anne McGowan, will produce with Davies alongside Higher Ground Productions. David Michôd (The King) and Norbu Tenzing Norgay, who is Tenzing Norgay’s eldest son, will executive produce.

The director, whose previous credits include documentaries Sherpa and Mountain, has known Tenzing’s family since 2003, and has been working on working on the feature about his life since 2016.

Jen Peedom.

She told IF she couldn’t ask for a better production partner than Higher Ground.

“It’s been a while coming, so it’s very exciting for us,” she said.

“Luke has written the script and we are moving along with the development process.

“Having the experience of someone like David on this has also been invaluable.”

Higher Ground Productions, co-led by Priya Swaminathan and Tonia Davis alongside Ada Chiaghana and Alex Pitz, focuses on “telling stories that embody the values the Obamas have championed throughout their lives”.

Other feature films announced as part of the company’s Netflix slate on the weekend include Yann Demange’s (White Boy Rick) Exit West, which is based on Mohsin Hamid’s critically-acclaimed novel; science fiction film Satellite; and The Young Wife from writer/director Tayarisha Poe.

The company will also produce assist with the production of series’ such as Firekeeper’s Daughter; Great National Parks; Ada Twist, Scientist; and The G Word with Adam Conover.

In a statement, the Obamas said they “couldn’t be more proud” to team up with the new batch of artists from the projects.

“From science fiction to the beauty of our natural world to the relationships that define us, Higher Ground continues to strive for fresh perspectives, compelling characters, and a healthy dose of inspiration,” they said.


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