FROM Liz Garbus
'What Happened, Miss Simone?' Nina Simone’s voice is instantly identifiable, but her life story is less well known. She was a classically trained pianist in the south, a prodigy in fact, who became a hugely popular jazz performer. She was a civil rights activist and an iconoclast, who lived both a charmed and tortured life. Nina Simone died in 2003. Now, a new documentary tells the story of her life and music with new archival footage and interviews with her only child, Lisa Simone Kelly. Madeleine Brand spoke with Liz Garbus, the director of the new film.
'What Happened, Miss Simone?' When filmmaker Liz Garbus set out to make a film about the High Priestess of Soul, her search for rare Nina Simone footage took her across continents. Fortunately, Garbus had a powerful backer to aid in the search: Netflix. As a seasoned, Oscar-nominated documentarian, Garbus knows finding funding for docs is often difficult, especially when a project involves the daunting problem of licensing music. So when she and her producing partners at Radical Media starting pitching their Simone project, they cast a wide net and found a good match in Netflix, which has been getting more and more involved with documentaries at film festivals in recent years. Her film, What Happened, Miss Simone? , is the first original documentary to be both produced and distributed by Netflix. Once she had the production funds to start on her quest, Garbus found so much material that she was able to tell Simone's story largely through the artist's own words and music. The film contains interviews and footage that have been buried for decades, never before seen by the public, including an interview with Simone's former husband and manager, Andy Stroud. A major conflict between Simone and Stroud arose when Simone started using her fame and her gifts to support the 1960's civil rights movement. Stroud, who died in 2012, knew that controversy would hurt his wife's career and wanted her to keep the focus on her commercial appeal. Still from the Netflix documentary, "What Happened, Miss Simone?" Garbus is able to capture this very personal artist-manager disagreement in her film, partially through interviews, but also through Simone's songs, which she uses as a narrative structure throughout. And while the estate of Nina Simone first approached Radical Media about making a Simone documentary, once the filmmaking started, both the estate and Simone's daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, were hands-off in the filmmaking process. Garbus found that Simone led a complex and fascinating life, and for her as a filmmaker, it was critically important that the story of Simone be allowed to "keep its teeth."
How do Trump supporters feel about the Paris Accord? Globally and around the U.S., there are strong opinions whether or not the Paris Climate Accord is a good idea. The American exit is either a horrifying abdication of American leadership or a forceful and long overdue statement about U.S. sovereignty.
Previewing James Comey's blockbuster testimony Former FBI director James Comey testifies Thursday in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, but his opening statement has been released. In it, he says he felt pressured by Donald Trump to declare loyalty to him and publicly clear him of any wrongdoing in the Russia investigation.
Securing Public Spaces, Super Wealthy Asians Vehicles are increasingly being used as weapons, as seen in the London Bridge attack over the weekend and in New York’s Times Square last month. The Compton-based company Calpipe is designing security bollards to help make public spaces safer. And novelist Kevin Kwan satirizes the “crazy rich” Asian jet set and their luxurious tastes in his latest book, “Rich People Problems.”
'Dandelion and Quince,' food and crime, 'All About Eggs' Sarah Lohman talks about the murder and historic recipes that form the backbone of her new book, “Ohio 1910,” and Rachel Khong shares highlights from Lucky Peach’s last cookbook, “All About Eggs.” Michelle Mckenzie tells us how to cook oft-forgotten fruits, veggies and herbs, and Jonathan Gold reviews AR Cucina in Culver City. Plus: raspberries at the market and a special guest DJ set from Alton Brown.