After kicking off this year’s Sundance Film Festival, What Happened, Miss Simone?, a new documentary on Nina Simone, will premiere on Netflix and in select theatres June 26th. Watch the stirring trailer for the intimate film above.
Composed of archival footage, rare recordings and the vocalist’s own hits, the Liz Garbus-directed doc is largely told in the iconic singer’s own words alongside context from her daughter and peers. “My mother was one of the greatest entertainers of all time,” says Simone’s daughter Lisa Simone Kelly above an a cappella track of her mother singing “Feeling Good.” “When she was performing, she was an anomaly. She was brilliant. She was loved.”
While What Happened serves as a celebration of her long, eclectic career, it’s also an exploration of the darkness that motivated the singer. “People think that when she went out onstage, she became Nina Simone,” Kelly details in the clip. “My mother was Nina Simone 24/7, and that’s where it became a problem. Everything fell apart.” Later, Simone herself is heard saying, “I have to live with Nina, and that is so difficult.”
A biopic on the singer, originally featuring Mary J. Blige in the lead role, has long been in the works. Star Trek‘s Zoe Saldana replaced Blige in recent years, but the film has been shrouded in controversy, including backlash against Saldana playing the singer. Nina was screened at Cannes last year for buyers, though there has been no word since on if it would be theatrically released.