Nadia Hallgren Is The Afro-Latina Talent Behind Netflix’s ‘Becoming’ Doc
Netflix’s “Becoming” is one documentary everyone is talking about. The documentary, which follows former First Lady Michelle Obama on her 34-city book tour, was directed by Afro-Latina, Puerto Rican cinematographer Nadia Hallgren. It’s the excellence we all love to see.
Nadia Hallgren is the directing powerhouse behind Netflix’s documentary “Becoming.”
“Becoming” is Hallgren’s first feature-lengthed film and what a way to make a debut. The documentary follows Michelle Obama during her sold-out book tour promoting a book of the same name.
“I think the biggest thing was that it was a tremendous responsibility,” Hallgren told BlackFilm. “This is going to happen one time with Mrs. Obama. I wanted to make the thing and just whatever responsibility that was probably the thing that weighed the most on me.
Higher Ground Productions approached Hallgren to create the documentary.
“I was sitting at my kitchen table the way that I am now, and I got a call from Priya Swaminathan, who is one of the heads of Higher Ground,” Hallgren told Essence Magazine. “And she tells me that Mrs. Obama is getting ready to go out on this book tour and that they were kind of floating the idea of documenting it. Not being certain yet where that footage would live or if it would go anywhere other than her archives, but they were thinking about it. So, after a couple of phone calls, I get an email that says you have an appointment at the Office of Michelle and Barack Obama on this day.”
While filming Obama for the documentary, there was only one rule.
Hallgren says that she was given unprecedented access to the former first lady. She was backstage at every book tour stop, rode with Obama in her motorcades, and spent time at her home. The only thing Obama requested about the footage was that Hallgren not shoot footage of her and her daughters at home. Hallgren agreed because it seemed like a fair request.
However, we did still get footage of Sasha and Malia but one moment really stands out.
During the documentary, Malia comes on to the screen to congratulate her mom on another book tour stop. It was a rare and honest look into Malia and Michelle’s relationship.
“On tours, the same things happen over and over again—you travel, you do the thing, you move on,” Hallgren told Vanity Fair. “So it was pretty much any other shoot, and Mrs. Obama was signing books…And so I’m filming Mrs. Obama, and Malia—I didn’t even see her coming—must’ve walked behind me. She came around to talk to her mom, and just said this amazingly thoughtful reflection that she had in that moment.”
You can watch “Becoming” on Netflix now.
Congratulations, Nadia! What a special moment to be a part of.