HBO Nabs Rights to Obama Documentary

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HBO Thursday announced that it has acquired the U.S. television rights to an as-yet-unnamed documentary on President-elect Barack Obama that was created and produced by Edward Norton’s Class 5 Films production company.

The documentary, which is also produced by Stuart Blumberg and Bill Migliore and directed by Amy Rice and Alicia Sams, documents Obama’s historic rise to become the first African American president of the United States and examines American politics and culture through the prism of his candidacy.

HBO officials said that Rice initiated the idea in early 2006. Norton then approached then-Sen. Obama and his staff months prior to his decision to run for President and outlined the idea.  Senator Obama agreed to grant the team access and Rice and Sams began shooting shortly thereafter, including traveling with Obama on his trip to Africa in summer of '06.  

When the Senator announced his bid for the presidency in 2007, Rice and Sams were there and over the last two and a half years have documented the race with unprecedented access to Obama, his senior campaign staff, family, friends, and volunteers.

Sam Pollard, the award-winning editor of HBO’s When the Levees Broke and 4 Little Girls as well as Eyes on the Prize is editing the film and shooting will continue through the inauguration in preparation for a 2009 premiere.

“Senator Obama's history-making race for the White House has given our film a perfect framework to explore the pulse of the country at this vital moment in our history,” Norton said in a statement. “We believe this film will capture a tipping point in American history when a new generation of leadership emerged and old prejudices were finally vaulted over.”

HBO officials said the documentary will premiere sometime in 2009.