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Betty Davis documentary premieres in Amsterdam

JORDANNAH ELIZABETH | 11/30/2017, 4:32 p.m.
A new documentary about the insatiable, sexual, over-the-top and incredibly talented funk-soul musician, Betty Davis, was recently premiered at the ...

A new documentary about the insatiable, sexual, over-the-top and incredibly talented funk-soul musician, Betty Davis, was recently premiered at the 2017 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Davis fell into obscurity in the early 1980s after the release of her studio album, “Nasty Gal” (Island Records) in 1975. The intention to release the new documentary was published in 2015 after the film’s producers crowdfunded the film, which was announced under the name, “Nasty Gal: The Many Lives of Funk Queen Betty Davis.”

Filmmakers Phil Cox and Damon Smith and producer Giovanna Stopponi had previously premiered feature films and trans-media work at festivals such as Sundance, the Berlinale, IDFA, Toronto, New York and many others, so the team was able to put this film out rather quickly. Before starting their Indiegogo campaign to raise money for the film, the team had already been working on the film for three years according to their campaign’s website. They raised nearly $33,000 in 2015 and were able to premiere the film in Amsterdam in November 2017.

The inspiration of the film came from Davis herself, whose given name is Betty Mabry. Her last name comes from the iconic jazz musician, Miles Davis, to whom she was married for one year in 1968-1969. Within that year, she had a huge influence on Miles Davis and has been described as the person who introduced Miles Davis to Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone. Davis felt she was ready to come out of obscurity after 35 years, saying, “I feel that now is the time to tell my story to people I trust. It’s important that I can help shape my legacy while I’m alive by returning my story and music to people who will value it and learn from it.”

Davis, now in her 70s, seems introspective. She has long done away with her eccentric glamour and maintains a very ordinary look and demeanor, a far cry from the eye-catching outfits and fiery presence she exuded in the past.

The film’s title was changed to a more concise, “Betty—They Say I’m Different” and has been making waves as it coincided with the release of music she’d done with Miles Davis in 1969.

Information about the U.S. premiere of the film will be announced. Until then, you can visit the documentary’s website at http://www.nastygalmovie.com.