Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton have outlined the strategy behind their nascent film and TV company HiddenLight Productions, revealing that they have optioned a number of books, including Jacqueline Winspear’s “Maisie Dobbs” series.
Speaking at the Royal Television Society conference in Cambridge on Wednesday, the Clintons appeared via a virtual live-link, in conversation with British historian and presenter Mary Beard.
Hillary Clinton appeared to be very much in her element while discussing her production company’s goals within the content landscape, and what she and daughter Chelsea hoped to accomplish.
“It’s exciting because we believe passionately in bringing these stories to light,” said Hillary Clinton. “For too long, attention has been paid to the loudest voices in the room, but generations of tastemakers around the globe are making a difference. Today particularly, there’s a hunger for people to figure out how to make sense of our world. We want to make a big contribution to that.”
The “Maisie Dobbs” books mark HiddenLight’s inaugural fiction option. The series covers 16 books and follows Dobbs, a psychologist and investigator, on a series of missions that span both World Wars and the Spanish Civil War.
The company is also in the early stages of adapting PBS reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s “The Daughters of Kobani,” which tells the story of the female soldiers of the Kurdish militia who are fighting to stop ISIS in Syria.
“We are working closely with the Kurdish creative community to write a [film] that brings that story to life in the most authentic way possible,” said Hillary Clinton.
Also on the slate is the previously announced Apple TV Plus docuseries “Gutsy Women,” which is based on the duo’s book “The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience.”
Set up in December 2020, the Clintons describe Hidden Light as a U.S.-U.K. outfit — set up in collaboration with British producer Sam Branson — that’s looking for broad-appeal, cross-generational content with a mission of bringing untold stories to light.
“When I was young, I watched a number of documentaries and movies with my mum and grandmother,” said Chelsea Clinton, before noting that not enough current programming was accessible to multi-generational audiences.
“Things are just for mature audiences or just for kids. We want to break down those silos. We want to have common conversations,” she said.
Added Hillary Clinton: “I think the pandemic has really brought this home for people. When everyone was at home, it was a struggle to find content that was interesting to everyone and would capture the attention of teens, kids and adults. This may have run a bit against the current of what was seen as bankable and producible over the past 10 to 20 years, but there’s a growing desire and interest to have more platforms with content that can cross generations.”
The former U.S. presidential candidate and Secretary of State highlighted, as well, that “not only [does the] U.K. have great production expertise, but it’s a great jumping-off point to reach Africa and the Middle East.”