Film about president’s mother Stanley Ann Dunham nearly done

Stanley Ann Dunham in her Mercer Island High School yearbook photo. - Contributed Photo
Stanley Ann Dunham in her Mercer Island High School yearbook photo.
— image credit: Contributed Photo

Vivian Norris, the producer of a film about President Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, entitled “Obama’s Mama,” said that final editing on the film is complete. The film, which follows Dunham’s life and work, included interviewing four Islanders who were friends with Dunham while she attended high school here.

Norris said she has spent a lot of time and her own money on the film.

“It took 5 years and all my savings to get this done,” she wrote. “It has truly been a passion.”

Dunham, attended Mercer Island High School and lived in the Shorewood Apartments with her family, before her graduation and eventual move to Hawaii.

Norris filmed on Mercer Island and interviewed four of Dunham’s friends from that time as well as friends and colleagues from other parts of her life, she explained.

“Seattle and Mercer Island and the education she received there are a big part of the film.”

Norris worked with the Seattle Film Festival for several years in the 1990s and completed both a M.A. and Ph.D. at UW.

She said she has a unique connection with Dunham.

“I carried out research in Indonesia and have worked with microcredit so our worlds overlapped. I know as friends people she was friends with and worked with in many places,” she explained.

“I am also a single longtime expat mom so I identified with that part of the story as well.”

Norris’ own company, Vigilante VNM Productions, co-produced the film with the support of Brian Woods and his company, True Vision UK, which has won 9 BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) in 9 years for Best Documentary.

When asked if she knew of any other similar films in production about Dunham, Norris said she did not know of any other project. “I had heard once someone else wanted to make a film but I never heard more,” she wrote.

Islanders can follow Norris on Twitter for updates at Obama Mama Doc. She hopes to be at the Seattle International Film Festival next May.


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