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 Dawn Porter’s Cirque du Soleil: Without a Net offers a never-before-seen look behind the curtain of the world-famous circus extravaganza, with an approach that is equally intimate and epic in scale. When Cirque du Soleil moves to reboot its flagship production, "O," more than a year after an abrupt global shutdown, both performers and crew members face uncertainty as they work to return to their world-class standards in time for the (re)opening night curtain in Las Vegas. The film had its world premiere as a Centerpiece film at the 2022 DOC NYC Festival. Porter sat down with us to discuss her unique approach to this story, and how these high-flying artists can offer unique insight into our post-pandemic world.READ MORE
NYWIFT member Sascha Just directed and produced Ellis, the first feature-length documentary about the late legendary New Orleans pianist and educator, Ellis Marsalis, Jr. Marsalis composed and performed major works of modern jazz infused with a uniquely New Orleans touch. Just spoke to us about all the ways in which jazz has influenced her work, getting to know a creative legend, and her DOC NYC premiere.READ MORE
In the documentary short The House of LaBeija, directed and produced by NYWIFT member Fredgy Noël, we meet the eponymous prominent ballroom family and safe haven for transgender women, queer people, and those in need of community. Over the course of 10 minutes, several members of the house dance, vogue, and celebrate their identities across a strikingly glamorous mansion that seems to be an embodiment of their safe harbor. Fredgy Noël spoke to us about ballroom culture, creative inspirations, and what’s next on her horizon.READ MORE
NYWIFT member Jill Woodward edited the documentary 1946: The Mistranslation that Shifted a Culture, which won the Audience Award at DOC NYC 2022. In this deeply personal tale, a gay seminary scholar and a straight activist, seeking to uncover the origins of the rabid homophobia of the conservative church, make a shocking discovery: an erroneous translation of the term “homosexual” in the Bible in 1946 that has been weaponized against the LGBTQIA+ community ever since. Woodward spoke to us about the editing process, what she learned along the way, and which types of projects excite her the most.READ MORE