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The Punk Singer

A rousing and heartfelt document of the extraordinary feminist rock icon Kathleen Hanna, singer from Bikini Kill and Le Tigre.


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  • Director Sini Anderson
  • Producers Tamra Davis, Gwen Bialic, Rachel Dengiz, Erin Owens, Alan Oxman
  • USA 2013
  • 82 mins
  • Sales Films Transit

Discussing the emergence of the feminist punk rock movement riot grrrl in the early 1990s, artist and co-founder of Mr Lady Records, Tammy Rae Carland, explains, ‘It had to happen, or else we would have all starved to death culturally. It had to happen. And there they were.’ She was, of course, referring to Bikini Kill, fronted by the inimitable, political, confrontational legend Kathleen Hanna. For well over a decade, from DIY punk and bedroom records to the electronic pop perfection of Le Tigre, Hanna’s rally cry against the sexist, heteronormative music scene proved a source of constant encouragement to so many fans until, in 2005, she disappeared from the public eye with no explanation. Shedding light on her need to retreat, Sini Anderson’s rousing documentary recounts Hanna’s extraordinary career, from the social impact she had to the individual lives she changed, painting a definitive portrait of this inspirational rebel girl.

Michael Blyth

Read the Time Out review.

Director biography

Sini Anderson has worked in film for over 10 years as a producer, first assistant director, and creative consultant to directors on such films as By Hook Or By Crook, Mango Kiss, Jaded Consumer Looking for Something More, Fumbling Towards Rock: The Miriam and Helen Story, Karma Calling and Maggots and Men, among others. She has directed short form pieces such as Jolie Holland’s All The Girls music video and Melissa Febos’s experimental book/video short Whip Smart. The Punk Singer is Anderson’s first feature-length documentary. Anderson’s work has been supported by the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Horizons Foundation, Theatre Bay Area’s Cash Program, the California Arts Council, Grants for the Arts San Francisco, Open Meadows, the Women’s Foundation, and the Astraea Foundation. She has served as chief curator and artistic director for the National Queer Arts Festival, president of the board of directors for the Harvey Milk Institute, and co-chair of the board of directors for the Queer Cultural Center. Currently, Anderson is working to finish another feature-length documentary called I Spit On Your Country: Sister Spit, and is developing her first narrative film, based on a 1990 documentary about New York City’s queer culture. Anderson lives both in Brooklyn, NY, and San Francisco, CA, and performs and speaks at universities nationwide.

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