New documentaries about Taylor Swift and the Go-Go’s, as well as a film from St. Vincent, will premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, taking place January 23rd through February 2nd in Park City, Utah.
The Swift film, Miss Americana, was directed by Lana Wilson and, per a statement, follows Swift “during a transformational period in her life as she learns to embrace her role not only as a songwriter and performer, but as a woman harnessing the full power of her voice.” Two of the producers listed on the project, Morgan Neville and Caitrin Rogers, also worked on the Oscar-winning doc about back-up singers, 20 Feet From Stardom.
Following its premiere at Sundance, Miss Americana will arrive on Netflix in early 2020, meaning it is the film that was part of the recent dust-up between Swift and her former label, Big Machine, and its owners Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun. Last month, Swift accused Borchetta and Braun of not allowing her to use music from her first six albums (which Big Machine owns) in a Netflix documentary and during a performance at the American Music Awards. The AMAs issue was ultimately resolved and Swift performed a career-spanning medley at the award’s show. With Miss Americana headed to Sundance, it seems any potential rights issues regarding the film, at least for its premiere, were also resolved.
The St. Vincent film, meanwhile, seems to be a mix of documentary and fiction, and is listed under Sundance’s “midnight” category. St. Vincent/Annie Clark co-wrote and co-stars in The Nowhere Inn with Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein, while Bill Benz directed it. The movie reportedly centers around St. Vincent’s attempts to make a documentary about herself and “the unadorned truth behind her on-stage persona.” But after she hires “a close friend to direct” — ostensibly Brownstein — “notions of reality, identify and authenticity grow increasingly distorted and bizarre.”
The Go-Go’s doc, meanwhile, is much more straightforward. Helmed by Alison Ellwood, The Go-Go’s will feature “candid testimonies” from the revolutionary outfit as it explores their rise from stalwarts of the L.A. punk scene to the first all-female band to play their own instruments and write their own songs to score a Number One album.
Sundance will also host the premiere of a just-announced documentary about sexual assault in the music industry, produced by Oprah and directed by The Hunting Ground team, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering. While no official details about the film and its subjects were revealed, the first person billed in the cast in the Sundance statement is Drew Dixon, who accused Russel Simmons of raping her in 1995.
Other docs set to premiere at Sundance include What Remains Behind, about the late actress Natalie Wood, and Happy Happy Joy Joy, about Ren & Stimpy and its creator, John Kricfalusi, who was accused of sexual abuse last year.