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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New Nina Simone Documentary Will Have Its World Premiere at Sundance

As we continue to wait for the big screen biopic on Nina Simone starring Zoe Saldana (if it hasn't crumbled under the pressure of an already disappointed audience), Netflix and RadicalMedia (in association with Moxie Firecracker) have decided to release their own version of the iconic jazz singer's story, in the form of a documentary titled WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? It was announced Monday that the film will receive its world premiere on opening night at next month's Sundance Film Festival. *cue applause*

Funnily enough, a friend and I were just talking about how when it comes to the true life story of musicians, documentaries tend to strike the best chord (with few exceptions, of course). So I am kinda excited to see what Netflix will deliver with this film. Here's more about it from the press release:

WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE?, the new film from Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus (The Farm: Angola, USA and Bobby Fischer Against the World), will receive its world premiere as a Day One (opening night) film at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, January 22 to February 1, 2015. Produced by Netflix and RadicalMedia, the documentary will premiere exclusively in all territories where Netflix is available in 2015.

Classically trained pianist, dive-bar chanteuse, black power icon and legendary recording artist, Nina Simone lived a life of brutal honesty, musical genius, and tortured melancholy. In this epic documentary, director Liz Garbus interweaves never-before-heard recordings and rare archival footage together with Nina's most memorable songs, to create an unforgettable portrait of one of the least understood, yet most beloved, artists of our time.

The film uses recently unearthed audio tapes, recorded over the course of three decades, of Nina telling her life story to various interviewers and would-be biographers. From over 100 hours of these recordings, WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? weaves together Nina's narrative, told largely in her own words. Rare concert footage and archival interviews, along with diaries, letters, interviews with Nina's daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, friends and collaborators, along with other exclusive materials, make this the most authentic, personal, and unflinching telling of the extraordinary life of one of the 20th century's greatest recording artists.

I'm not very familiar with Garbus's work, but I am really interested in this project. I feel like I haven't seen enough footage of Simone talking about her songs, inspiration and intimate details about her life, so I'm definitely going to mark this one down. What say you?

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival will take place January 22 to February 1, 2015 in Park City, Utah. 


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