The Punk Singer

Director Sini Anderson
United States / 81 min. / 2013 / English

This is the definitive profile of Kathleen Hanna, frontwoman of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. She lets us into her inner world for the first time: riot grrrl, family, fame, Kurt Cobain, Lyme disease and her return as Julie Ruin. An arduous odyssey; no concessions.


We saw her in Who took the Bomp! - the documentary about Le Tigre, but this film probes to infinity and beyond. We find ourselves face to face with the definitive profile of Kathleen Hanna, leader of Julie Ruin, Bikini Kill (as you know) and Le Tigre (as you know full well). Made with the implicit collaboration of the artist-activist (known for guarding her privacy), lets us into her inner world for the first time: speaking in-depth about her apprenticeship in the world of acclaimed art, of riot grrrl ("It spread like a virus"), of creating a new space where girls fit in, of her family (asshole father + sado-comic mother), and also of physical and emotional abuse, fame, her buddy Kurt Cobain (she painted the famous graffiti "Kurt smells like teen spirit"), of the danceable rebirth of Le Tigre and of the death of Le Tigre. Emotion wells up when Hanna speaks about the group's break-up for the first time, of how she caught Lyme disease and then managed to make a comeback as Julie Ruin. By her side, disciples, partners and teachers: Sleater Kinney, Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, Tobi Vail... and her husband, Adam Horowitz. An arduous odyssey; no concessions.


Sini Anderson is a director, producer, poet and performance artists. She was the Artistic Director of the San Francisco National Queer Arts Festival. This is her first full-length documentary. 


Showing format

Lena Sharpe Award for Persistance of Vision 2013 Seattle International Film Festival; ARCA Best Director Award 2013 Distrital Film Festival Mexico

in festivals
SXSW 2013, AFI Docs 2013, HotDocs 2013

Kathleen Hanna, Kim Gordon, Joan Jett, Kathi Wilcox, Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker, Adam Horovitz

Jessica Hernández, Bo Mehrad

Jennie Jeddry, Moira Morel

Sound designer
Quentin Chiappetta

Sini Anderson, Gwen Bialic, Tamra Davis, Rachel Dengiz, Erin Owens, Alan Oxman

Film company
Long shot factory, Opening Band Films LLC

Film distributor
Films Transit

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