Israeli Documentary on Unsung New Orleans Singer Sold to Netflix

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Samantha Montgomery in the 2015 documentary 'Presenting Princess Shaw.'
Samantha Montgomery in the 2015 documentary 'Presenting Princess Shaw.' Credit: Haim Yafim Barbalat

Ido Haar’s documentary “Presenting Princess Shaw” – which tells the story of a poor New Orleans singer working in a nursing home – has been sold to Netflix and distributed to 184 countries.

The deal was signed a few months ago after the North American rights were sold to Magnolia Pictures and Participant Media. The news could only be made public now that the film is set to be distributed.

The work, produced by Liran Atzmor for Yes Docu, premiered a year ago at the Toronto International Film Festival. Around 40,000 people have seen it at Israeli cinemas, Atzmor says.

The film, which has been screened at a number of international film festivals, has been nominated for an Ophir Award for best documentary, and for the top prize from the Israeli Documentary Filmmakers Forum.

“Presenting Princess Shaw” tells the story of Samantha Montgomery, a singer who works as a caregiver in a nursing home and lives in a poor section of New Orleans. She posts performances of original songs on YouTube under the name Princess Shaw but gets very few hits.

But in Israel, musician Ophir Kutiel, also known as Kutiman, discovers her videos and adds contributions by people from all over the world. He turns them into YouTube mashups to be seen by hundreds of thousands, if not  millions.

Montgomery is due to come to Israel soon to be a guest performer with the Kutiman Orchestra at the Tamar Festival at the Dead Sea. She and Kutiman are currently working on new songs written by Montgomery.

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