The story of Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date, Southside With You, made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday (Jan. 24). Set in 1989 on the day that the First Couple visited the Art Institute of Chicago, had a picnic lunch, and watched Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, the screening was met with positive reviews from the likes of Entertainment Weekly and Vanity Fair. Starring Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers as The Obamas, Sumpter talked co-producing the film.
“Ultimately, I wanted to see someone who looked like me falling in love up there and I think everybody can relate to that. … It’s not Republican, Democrat or anything else. It’s just a love story,” she told ABC News.
The story follows Barack, a summer associate, who woos second-year associate Michelle into unsuspectedly going on a day-long date with him. According to director and screenwriter Richard Tanne, the film portrays an accurate view of the couple’s time together that fateful day, though he had to write in the actual conversation. His research consisted of articles and other materials that detailed their first encounter. Sumpter said that the film set out to present POTUS and FLOTUS as people.
“Just the perspective — not seeing these two as we see them now, but from before. … It started because I was just inspired by the love story … and I wanted to see that kind of love up there. It’s not the normal rom-com. It’s real conversations of what might have been said,” she said.
Watch the trailer for Southside With You below: