Docs

Netflix, Liz Garbus unite for Nina Simone doc

VOD service Netflix and RadicalMedia are teaming up with Love, Marilyn director Liz Garbus (pictured) for a documentary on the late, acclaimed chanteuse Nina Simone.
December 5, 2014

VOD service Netflix and RadicalMedia are teaming up with Love, Marilyn director Liz Garbus (pictured) for a documentary on the late, acclaimed chanteuse Nina Simone.

Entitled What Happened, Miss Simone?, the film will premiere exclusively in all territories where Netflix is available in 2015. The digital service said in a statement that the film was being produced “in cooperation with the Estate of Nina Simone.”

Lisa Nishimura, Netflix’s VP of original documentary programming, said in a statement: “Liz Garbus paints a brave and provocative picture of Nina Simone – artist, civil rights activist and heroine – in a film that we’ve loved from day one and are proud to bring to our viewers around the world.”

The doc promises to use never-before-heard audio tapes, recorded over the course of three decades, of Nina telling her life story to various interviewers and would-be biographers. From more than 100 hours of these recordings, Garbus’s doc will attempt to weave together Simone’s narrative in her own words.

The film also promises rare concert footage and archival interviews, along with diaries, letters, interviews with Simone’s daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, and friends and collaborators, along with other exclusive materials.

“For each of her millions of fans, Nina feels like a treasured secret,” said Garbus. “With What Happened, Miss Simone?, I’m excited to help bring her passion, her music, and her story to the world.”

Justin Wilkes, president of media and entertainment at RadicalMedia, and a producer on the film, added: “Throughout her life, Nina used her powerful voice to entertain, effect change and inspire anyone who’s ever listened to one of her songs. It’s only fitting that Nina will once again use her voice to enchant a new generation of fans by taking center stage in the telling of her own story.”

Wilkes (Made in America, Under African Skies) is producing the doc alongside Garbus (Bobby Fischer Against the World, The Farm: Angola, USA), Amy Hobby (Secretary; Love, Marilyn) and Jayson Jackson (Bridge & Tunnel on Broadway).

The exec producers are Simone Kelly, Sidney Beaumont (Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory), Jon Kamen (The Fog of War), Nishimura (The Square, Virunga) and Adam Del Deo (The Square, Every Little Step).

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.

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