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‘Presenting Princess Shaw’: From Unknown Singer to YouTube Star


Samantha Montgomery, a.k.a. Princess Shaw, the subject of a documentary from Ido Haar.

Ido Haar/Atzmor Productions

A great thing about YouTube is that you never know where creativity will come from or what form it’s going to take. The PBS series “POV” offers proof on Monday, July 17, with “Presenting Princess Shaw,” a documentary about a do-it-yourself singer-songwriter and the stranger thousands of miles away who put her on the map — without her knowledge.

The title figure is Samantha Montgomery, an eldercare worker in New Orleans who, in her spare time, makes films of herself singing her own songs a cappella and posts the videos under the name Princess Shaw. In Israel, her voice captures the attention of Ophir Kutiel, a producer known as Kutiman who has achieved fame making music videos by mixing snippets he finds on YouTube, unbeknown to the people who post them.

The director, Ido Haar, has the patience to fill in the details of Ms. Montgomery’s life, a hard one, before reaching the moment when she learns she has a YouTube hit. The film, which had a brief theatrical release last year, is a feel-good story for the age of viral video.

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