Sundance Selects has picked up the documentary "The Punk Singer" for North American distribution, the company said Monday. Directed by Sini Anderson, the film looks at the life and legacy of musician and activist Kathleen Hanna, best known for her groundbreaking work as part of the band Bikini Kill and a founder of the 1990s feminist "riot grrrl" movement.
Jonathan Sehring, president of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, said in a statement: " 'The Punk Singer' is one of those great documentaries that makes you realize how much a single person can accomplish in a short span of time.... Kathleen Hanna is a complex, fascinating human being who is beautifully captured in Sini Anderson's 'The Punk Singer.'"
The film explores the health issues that Hanna, now 43, has battled over the last few years because of late-stage Lyme disease and how that has kept her from the spotlight. In addition, though she and her husband, Beastie Boys member Adam Horovitz, have often kept their relationship out of the spotlight, he is seen throughout the film and is the only man interviewed on camera.
Other interview subjects in the film include Hanna's former bandmates from both Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, rock critic Ann Powers and musicians Kim Gordon, Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker and Joan Jett.
Hanna recently performed for only the second time with the band the Julie Ruin as part of the Northside Festival in New York City. So while "The Punk Singer" may be a look at her past, she isn't ready to be completely consigned to history just yet.
“I really feel this frees me from any kind of burden,” Hanna said at SXSW alongside Anderson and producer Tamra Davis. “Being sick also made me feel like, I’m No. 1. I can’t constantly be trying to write the unwritten song, the song that the 15-year-old girl needs. I need to write the song that I need. I feel like having the movie frees me to make whatever I want.”
The Julie Ruin recently released a track, "Oh Come On," from its album "Run Fast," set for release in September.
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