Film Detail

Mar 21, 2019

Closing Film: Betty They Say I'm Different

Sunday, March, 24, 7:00pm, The Broad Theater

Sunday, March 24, 10:00pm, The Ace Hotel



A profile of explosive 1970’s funk pioneer Betty Davis, who changed the landscape of music for female artists in America. Documentary. Directed by Philip Cox. 52 minutes.

*Post-screening conversation between historian and researcher Melissa A. Weber, aka DJ Soul Sister, with ethnomusicology scholar Danielle Maggio, an associate producer of the film.

Category: 2019Festival
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An aspiring songwriter from a small steel town, Betty Mabry Davis arrived on the scene to break boundaries for women with her daring personality, iconic fashion style and outrageous funk. She befriended Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone, wrote songs for The Chambers Brothers and The Commodores, and married Miles Davis - turning him from jazz to funk, and then went on to ignite stages in the 70s with her sassy sexed up mix of hard rock and bluesy funk, inspiring artists from Prince to Erykah Badu to Karen O and Peaches. Then she vanished...

Funk Queen Betty Davis changed the landscape for female artists in America. She “was the first...” as former husband Miles Davis said. “Madonna before Madonna, Prince before Prince”. An aspiring songwriter from a small steel town, Betty arrived on the 70’s scene to break boundaries for women with her daring personality, iconic fashion and outrageous funk music. She befriended Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone, wrote songs for the Chambers Brothers and the Commodores, and married Miles – startlingly turning him from jazz to funk on the album she named “Bitches Brew”. She then, despite being banned and boycotted, went on to become the first black woman to perform, write and manage herself. Betty was a feminist pioneer, inspiring and intimidating in a manner like no woman before. Then suddenly – she vanished.
Creatively blending documentary and animation this movie traces the path of Betty’s life, how she grew from humble upbringings to become a fully self-realized black female pioneer the world failed to understand or appreciate. After years of trying, the elusive Betty, forever the free-spirited Black Power Goddess, finally allowed the filmmakers to creatively tell her story based on their conversations.

Director Bio: Phil produced and directed his first films in Scotland, completing an honours degree in languages and literature at the University of Edinburgh. He created Native Voice Films in 1998. For the last 15 years he has worked both as a director and producer of award winning broadcast and Indy documentaries as well as a freelance cinematographer. Phil also teaches and lectures around the world at film schools in India, Italy and Latin America. He was awarded the Rory Peck Award for his work covering conflict in the Sudan civil war. Phil's feature documentaries have been WE ARE THE INDIANS which premiered in Sheffield Doc Fest and won BAFICI Buenos Aires FF award and MANAUS FF Jury Award and also THE BENGALI DETECTIVE which premiered at Sundance and Berlin and had a UK cinema release. He was described as '...a director to watch...' by the Hollywood Reporter and Screen Daily. Phil won a British Grierson Award for THE BENGALI DETECTIVE which was also aired by HBO and is to be remade by Ridley Scott's company and Fox Searchlight in Hollywood. Phil's latest film LOVE HOTEL premiered at Toronto in 2014 and has gone on to an international festival and US theatrical release. He is represented by the agents Curtis Brown in London.