2015 has turned out to be the year of Nina Simone. First there was the documentary "What Happened Miss Simone?" which premiered at the Sundance Film festival, and was later released on Netflix. It was, for the most part, critically praised. Though S&A’s Tanya Steele had a decidedly different take on the film which you can read here
And then of course there’s that highly controversial Nina Simone biopic starring a very unlikely Zoe Saldana in blackface and prosthetics, which, nearly three years after it was shot, is finally going to be released this December (and I must admit I am rather interested in seeing it, in a what-is-this-train-wreck-going-to-be–ike sort of way).
But there is actually another documentary coming out next month from filmmaker Jeff Lieberman ("ReEmerging: The Jews of Nigeria") which, according to the filmmaker, promises to provide an even more detailed and accurate portrait of the legend.
As Lieberman says, his film, which has been several years in the works, will chronicle Simone’s journey "from the segregated South, through the worlds of classical music, jazz joints & international concert halls," while delving "deep into Nina’s artistry and intentions, answering long-held questions behind Ninaʼs most beloved songs, bold style, controversial statements, and the reason she left America."
Promising a film that navigates the twists & turns of the 1960’s fight for racial equality, the filmmaker worked closely with Ms. Simone’s surviving 3 brothers, especially Sam Waymon (her youngest brother, who’s also a professional musician), as well as her one-time manager.
He conducted some 60 interviews of other family members, friends, band members and associates.
Now, finally, the film is set to open on October 16 in both New York at the AMC Empire (with an opening reception at the Miles Gallery on October 15), and in Los Angeles at the Sundance Sunset. It’ll gradually expand in successive weeks, starting on Friday on October 23 in Chicago (Gene Siskel Film Center), Madison (Sundance Cinema), Houston (Sundance Cinema), Philadelphia (AMC Cherry Hill), New Orleans (AMC Elmwood Palace), Atlanta (AMC Phipps Plaza), Washinton DC (AMC Georgetown), Berkeley (Rialto Cinemas), Palm Desert (Cinema Palme D’or), and Dallas (AMC Valley View).
Future theatrical openings are scheduled for North Carolina, Maine, California, Ontario (Canada) and Madrid (Spain), which will be followed by a DVD release sometime later this year
for the film’s website where you’ll find more info.
Trailer for the film follows below: