FROM Liz Garbus
'The Fourth Estate:' Journalism in the age of Trump The new Showtime documentary series “The Fourth Estate” is a fly-on-the-wall account of how the New York Times covers the president. The film follows White House reporter Maggie Haberman working her sources; editors and reporters scrambling to get their stories confirmed and online before they’re scooped by the competition; and the daily frenetic pace of trying write the first draft of history at a time when one Trump tweet can change everything. The New York Times headquarters. Credit: T.J. Kirkpatrick/SHOWTIME. The New York Times NY office. Credit: Aletheia Film/SHOWTIME. Political reporter Jeremy Peters talks with Breitbart News' Steve Bannon at a Roy Moore campaign rally. Credit: Aletheia Film/SHOWTIME. Director Liz Garbus. Credit: Rommel Demano.
'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."
George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo (Part I) Lincoln in the Bardo dramatizes a grieving President Lincoln as he visits the grave of his beloved son Willie, who died at age eleven. In the novel, the buried dead believe they're not dead -- "they're sick and refer to their coffins as "sick boxes."
Shaking up the USDA, 'The Beef Cookbook' and 'Tartine All Day' Peggy Lowe explains why Trump’s pick for USDA Secretary is rattling rural America. Dario Cecchini talks future plans for Chianti ramen, and Richard Turner shares cuts from “PRIME: The Beef Cookbook.” Writer Matthew Sedacca looks at the controversy behind liquid smoke. Jonathan Gold tries Chengdu-style dishes, and Elisabeth Prueitt of Tartine fills us in on the latest. Plus, chef Michael Beckman shares a recipe for cactus confit.