Malia Obama’s Short Film ‘The Heart’ Screens at Sundance: ‘Somewhat of a Fable’

Malia Obama is bringing her award-winning short film “The Heart” to Sundance.

The live-action short, which Obama wrote and directed using her middle name Malia Ann, previously screened at Telluride 2023 and won the Best Live Action Short award at the Chicago International Film Festival. “The Heart” follows a grieving son as he tries to carry out an obscure request left in his deceased mother’s will.

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Obama is the 25-year-old daughter of former U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. She previously worked in the “Swarm” writers room, served as a production assistant on CBS series “Extant,” and held internships on HBO series “Girls” and at the Weinstein Company.

In Obama’s Sundance “Meet the Artist” video, the filmmaker calls “The Heart” an “odd little story, somewhat of a fable.”

Obama added, “The film is 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. The folks who came together to make this film have my heart, pun intended.”

She continued, “I’m incredibly grateful to them for giving this story life, and we are grateful to Sundance for giving us the opportunity to share it with you all. 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.”

“The Heart” screens at Sundance in the U.S. Fiction Short Films category during the 40th annual festival. See the full lineup here.

“Swarm” co-creators Janine Nabers and Donald Glover formerly gushed about Obama’s writing talent to Vanity Fair.

“We really wanted to give her the opportunity to get her feet wet in TV and see if this is something she wants to continue doing,” Nabers said of Obama. “[The main characters of the show] are in their 20s and Malia is in her 20s, so it was really great having someone like her in the room. She’s a very professional person. She’s an incredible writer and artist.”

Glover added, “She’s just like, an amazingly talented person. She’s really focused, and she’s working really hard.”

Check out Obama’s “Meet the Artist” Sundance video below.

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