Netflix is taking the next step in its documentary strategy with What Happened, Miss Simone?, a new film about the iconic singer and civil rights activist from Oscar nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus (The Farm: Angola, USA, and Bobby Fischer Against The World). The docu will premiere in all territories where Netflix is available in 2015.
Netflix only entered the documentary arena a year ago when it acquired The Square, which went on to land an Academy Award nomination. The streaming service has since picked up a handful of other documentaries, including Virunga, which was just shortlisted for an Oscar nomination. All have been straight acquisitions of finished product.
With What Happened, Miss Simone?, Netflix for the first time joined the project at an early stage and is producing the documentary with RadicalMedia. “In What Happened, Miss Simone?, 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.” said Lisa Nishimura, Netflix VP of Original Documentary Programming.
Classically trained pianist, dive-bar chanteuse, black power icon and legendary recording artist, Simone lived a life of brutal honesty, musical genius, and tortured melancholy. The documentary, made in cooperation with Simone’s estate, features more than 100 hours of never-before-heard audio tapes, recorded over the course of three decades. In them, Simone is telling her life story to various interviewers and would-be biographers. The film also includes rare concert footage and archival interviews, along with diaries, letters, interviews with Nina’s daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, friends and collaborators.
What Happened, Miss Simone? is produced by Amy Hobby (Love, Marilyn), Justin Wilkes (Made In America), Jayson Jackson (Bridge & Tunnel On Broadway) and Garbus. Igor Martinovic (House Of Cards) is the cinematographer, and Joshua L. Pearson (Made In America) is editor. Sidney Beaumont (Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory), Jon Kamen (The Fog Of War), Lisa Nishimura (The Square), Adam Del Deo (The Square) and Lisa Simone Kelly serve as executive producers.