Jon Batiste ‘American Symphony’ Doc Acquired By Netflix And The Obamas’ Higher Ground

Grammy-winning musician and singer, Jon Batiste, will have his career and personal tribulations documented in Matthew Heineman’s American Symphony. The doc has been acquired by Netflix and The Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the doc will chronicle Batiste’s journey in music — including moments of success to the challenges his wife Suleika Jaouad faces with Leukemia. The film is set to release later this year.

“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,” stated Barack and Michelle Obama via THR. “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.”

Former first Lady Michelle and former president Barack Obama
Former first Lady Michelle and former president Barack Obama are introduced at the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit on October 31, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

The former first couple 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 honored for Higher Ground to help share it with the world.”

Higher Ground, which has a first-look deal with Netflix, has also backed the award-winning documentaries, American Factory in 2019 and 2020’s Crip Camp.

Jon batiste
Jon Batiste performs at the 50th Telluride Film Festival on September 1, 2023, in Telluride, Colorado.

Batiste joined Heineman at the Telluride Film Festival earlier this month for American Symphony’s world premiere, and also performed. He also took to his Instagram to share his excitement for the project.

“We are so excited to share AMERICAN SYMPHONY, a documentary directed by our friend, the great @mheineman. This film is by far the most vulnerable thing we’ve ever created,” he captioned an photo of him, his wife, and Heineman. “For seven months, we filmed from sun-up long past sundown, capturing the extreme duality of our lives in the months leading up to the premiere of Batiste Symphony No. 1 at Carnegie Hall.”

“It’s a story of love and art and survival — about what happens when the human spirit is tested again and again.”

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