Start your New Year off in a fierce way by watching the inspiring documentary The Punk Singer about Bikini Kill and Le Tigre feminist lead singer Kathleen Hanna.
Directed by Sini Anderson, this great music documentary shows the rise of Bikini Kill among a Pacific Northwest grunge/punk scene mostly populated by all-male bands and mosh pits. Hanna was an instrumental figure in the riot grrrl feminist movement within music during the ‘90s.
The documentary’s found footage shows Hanna’s incredible energy and intelligence during shows. In one of the clips, she champions having the girls and women move to the front—something never done at shows before. As Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, Joan Jett, Carrie Brownstein, and Ad-Rock from the Beastie Boys attest in interviews, Hanna left an indelible mark on music and influenced countless others, such as Kurt Cobain.
Anderson does a good job of showing Hanna’s evolution through the years as Bikini Kill dissolves and she becomes a member of the seminal electronic band Le Tigre in the late ’90s. The film is propelled by the question of what happened to Hanna after the break-up of Le Tigre and her withdrawal from the public eye in 2005. The answer is unexpected and heartbreaking.
The Punk Singer is playing in theaters in New York and can be found on iTunes and Amazon Instant.
NYWIFT Member Panayiota Pagoulatos shares memories from her trip to Cannes 2022 - her first time back on a plane since 2019! She met with WIFTI leaders from all over the world and shared this sage advice: "If you find yourself at an international market or film festival—whether it’s the first or the fiftieth time—look for your people. Whether a business partnership comes out of it or not, staying connected, sharing your experiences, and hopefully learning a thing or two, that’s the pulse that will help keep you going in this tough-as-nails industry."READ MORE
Cynthia Lowen’s latest documentary "Battleground" offers an eye-opening window into the anti-choice movement, featuring three women from varying walks of life who have dedicated themselves to rendering abortion illegal. Per the Tribeca website: “Told with restraint and balance, director Cynthia Lowen seeks to clarify rather than condemn, and presents a new point of entry for this challenging topic.” While the film itself clearly aligns with progressive pro-choice advocates (who also appear throughout) it offers a fascinating perspective on the sheer systemic power of the anti-abortion movement and the perilous future, felt painfully today, of Roe v. Wade. "Battleground" was Executive Produced by NYWIFT member Ruth Ann Harnisch and co-produced by member Steffie van Rhee, who sat down with us to discuss the premiere and how this film – from this particular perspective – came to fruition.READ MORE
Violet Du Feng’s "Hidden Letters" tells the story of Chinese women trying to balance their lives as independent women in modern China while confronting the traditional identity that defines but also oppresses them. Connected through their love for Nushu—a centuries-old secret text shared amongst women—each of them transforms through a pivotal period of their lives and takes a step closer to becoming the individuals they know they can be. Hot off her 2022 Tribeca Festival premiere, Director Violet Du Feng, an Emmy-award winning documentarian, spoke to us about Nushu, modern-day China, women’s equality, and her filmmaking process.READ MORE
Signe Baumane’s "My Love Affair With Marriage" is a brilliant animated film for a decidedly adult audience. It’s a semi-autobiographical musical exploration of love, sex, romance, and gender as viewed through the lens of neurochemistry – not your average animated love story! New York Women in Film & Television was proud to present Baumane with a NYWIFT Ravenal Foundation Feature Film Grant for the film, and even prouder to then see it premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Festival! We sat down with Signe to discuss her wildly inventive, intelligent, and very fun film.READ MORE