London/New York—Reclusive singer-songwriter Betty Mabry Davis, a Pittsburgh native, issued a rare public statement in support of the Indiegogo launch for “Nasty Gal: The Many Lives of Funk Queen Betty Davis,” the first feature-length film to explore the life and times of the groundbreaking stage performer, ex-model, and former wife of Miles Davis.
“Although I’ve been silent for a long time,” said Davis, “I feel it’s important to help shape my legacy while I’m alive by returning my story and music to people who will value it and learn from it. I am excited to be a part of this project and hope it finds the support it needs.”
After years of rejecting TV and film options from international petitioners, Davis signed exclusive life story rights with London-based Native Voice Films (HBO’s The Bengali Detective) in February 2013. Since then, the producers of “Nasty Gal” have been developing the project—a creative blend of fiction and nonfiction—with pre-production support from the EU MEDIA Programme. The team will soon be casting for the lead role of Betty Davis in the U.S.
“We are honored to be collaborating with Betty on her life story,” said directors Phil Cox and Damon Smith. “She is a larger-than-life global icon whose influence on music and fashion is indelible, from Prince to Erykah Badu, and her celebration onscreen is long overdue. We intend to make this film in the same unapologetically independent spirit in which Betty conducted her professional life, long before it was hip for a woman to be completely in charge.”
“As the producer of Betty’s first album,” said Sly and the Family Stone drummer Greg Errico, a musical advisor on “Nasty Gal,” “I’m proud to be part of the Betty Davis project and glad to see that her fans and the public are responding to what she’s put out there—and are inspiring her in return.”
“Nasty Gal” is seeking to raise $65,000 on Indiegogo by Nov. 10 to cover archive and music licensing and support principal photography for the feature-length film when it goes into production later this fall. The recent Facebook page dedicated to the project has already garnered tens of thousands of hits in the US and globally.
Among the Indiegogo pledge prizes are specially created Betty Davis T-shirts and logos courtesy of Jon Daniel (designer of George Clinton’s Chocolate City, London box set); limited edition Betty Davis prints by fashion photographer Anthony Barboza; hard-to-find Betty Davis albums (CDs and vinyl) personally signed by the artist; as well as a guided tour of Betty’s favorite New York City haunts and access to world premiere screenings.
“For fans of Betty Davis, fans of funk and rock, and for those supportive of women who are bold and fearless,” said LaBelle founding member Nona Hendryx, “I think it’s important to help Betty be remembered and recognized for the great, groundbreaking artist that she is.”
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