Malia Ann Obama’s Filmmaking Career: What Barack Obama’s Daughter Is Working on Now

 

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Malia Ann Obama has established herself as a filmmaker! The 25-year-old daughter of former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama made headlines earlier this year when she debuted her latest short film at 2024’s Sundance Film Festival. Her decision to drop her famous last name at the event spurred discussions across social media and within the industry. Although some were surprised to see the young star make a rare red carpet appearance, she’s been making a name for herself in Hollywood for a few years.

Learn all about Malia’s growing career below!

What Is Malia Obama’s Job?

According to her IMDb profile, the Harvard grad is a writer and a director. Her first notable screenwriting credit was for Donald Glover‘s 2023 series Swarm. She contributed to seven episodes, per her bio. Per showrunner Janine Nabers, some of Malia’s creative pitches were “wild as hell, and they were just so good and so funny. She’s an incredible writer. She brought a lot to the table… She’s really, really dedicated to her craft.”

After that, she wrote her short film, The Heart, which premiered at Sundance in early 2024 in Park City, Utah.

According to her Sundance “Meet the Artist” introduction, Malia described her film as one “about lost objects and lonely people and forgiveness and regret, but I also think it works hard to uncover where tenderness and closeness can exist in those things. We hope you enjoy the film and it makes you feel a bit less lonely, or at least reminds you not to forget about the people who are.”

Did Malia Obama Change Her Name?

Malia is credited as “Malia Ann” in The Heart rather than as an Obama. Her choice to put aside her family’s name sparked an uproar among critics, who called her a “nepo baby.” However, some celebs came to Malia’s defense, including The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg.

“If she knows she’s an Obama, why do you care?” Whoopi asked the naysayers during an episode of her talk show. “Why do you care what she calls herself? If she wanted to call herself Jeanette MacDonald, she has the right to! If I can be Whoopi Goldberg, she can be whoever the hell she wants to be.”

The Color Purple star added, “I mean why are people triggered by this kind of stuff? Why are people wasting their time? This is a grown woman. She is not thinking about her parents. … Leave this child alone. Leave her alone.”

What Have Barack and Michelle Obama Said About Malia?

Michelle and Barack haven’t publicly reacted to the criticism that their daughter received for leaving out her last name as a filmmaker. However, the proud parents have talked about their kids — Malia and Sasha — over the years.

During a 2023 conversation on her “The Light Podcast,” Michelle opened up about how her communication has changed with her children.

“I’m moving from mom-in-chief to advisor-in-chief,” she said. “That’s a lovely thing — to be able to watch my girls fly and have the relief that ‘OK, I think I didn’t mess them up.’”

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