SIFF Face The Music 2016 Preview: Presenting Princess Shaw


Presenting Princess Shaw
(Directed by Ido Haar, Israel, 2015, 80 minutes)

Festival screenings:
Friday, May 20th at 7:00 PM – SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Saturday, May 21st at 1:00 PM – AMC Pacific Place 11
[ Subject Princess Shaw (Samantha Montgomery) scheduled to attend both screenings ]

Samantha Montgomery lives in New Orleans. She is a caregiver at a local retirement home. At work, she talks about her dream of becoming a professional singer one day and sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to the elderly. At night, she is Princess Shaw, an aspiring vocalist who sings to an empty house at open mic night. Her life is stacked in endless loops of discouragements. Sometimes it’s unbearable to deal with, but she bounces back and stays as positive as she can. She posts her homemade a cappella clips on her YouTube channel to be noticed, but in a vast ocean of information, it seems to be another dead end for her. Feeling deserted, she longs to connect with someone who can understand her songs, but nobody answers back to her.

Same time, just around the planet in Israel, a man methodically watches YouTube searching for an inspiration for his new project. Born Ophir Kutiel in Jerusalem, Kutiman is a musician,
composer, producer, and animator, as well as a seasoned Video/Audio Mashup artist, DJ, and performer with his live band The Kutiman Orchestra. In 2009, his V/A Mashup project “Thru YOU” received more than one million views in a week. His 2013 “Thru Tokyo” (part of on-going series Thru the City, a collaboration with PBS) is a colorful collage of V/A Mashup pieces, featuring many traditional Japanese instruments displaying untraditional behavior.

Something sparks when Kutiman listens to Shaw’s a cappella clips. Inspired by her song, he starts collecting various instrument clips posted on YouTube site. Those V/A clips will be parts of his composition. He uses them as if they are his own instruments. Drums, keys, strings, percussion, horns, synth, and anything in between. At this point nobody, including Shaw, was aware of the project. Kutiman himself doesn’t know how this song will turn up. But something in Shaw’s voice intrigued him, and that is not a bad start. He won’t rush it, he will take as much time ’til he is happy with it.

It took him two months to finish “Thru You Too – GIVE IT UP”. It utilizes 22 samples with Shaw’s a cappella from Video/Audio clips Kutiman found on YouTube. A melancholic jazzy downtempo song with a catchy hook, this V/A mash up song received more than one million views in a week. The rest is history. Earlier this year, Kutiman & Princess Shaw posted “Stay Here” on YouTube.

Presenting Princess Shaw is a charming, witty, joyful, yet seriously heavy real life story focused the encounter of two musicians over internet. Director Ido Haar succeeded to maintain the authenticity and capture maximum positivity with excitement into this documentary film.

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