If you haven’t yet heard of director Sini Anderson’s latest project, here’s a quick taste. THE PUNK SINGER is a documentary of famed Bikini Kill lead singer, Kathleen Hanna (also one of the founders of the Riot Grrrl movement). I’m sure a lot of us have been waiting for a film like this to come along — Anderson herself states on her kickstarter page: “The first question that the mention of a documentary about Kathleen Hanna prompts is usually, Why hasn’t one already been made?”
The Riot Grrrl movement wasn’t just about music, though. It was part of the “third wave” of feminism and fueled by a core punk principle: do it yourself. Read Rachel Smith’s piece from September 22, “Revolution Girl Style, 20 Years Later” on the Riot Grrrl movement.
So what’s so impressive about Sini Anderson’s project?
1. It’s a project that’s been long-awaited by many a Riot Grrrl, even those on the fringes of the movement like me. (Yes, I read lots of zines in my teens thanks to my older sister who introduced me to Cometbus, Housewife Turned Assassin and Nomy Lamm’s genius I’m So Fucking Beautiful, and I even did several issues of my own in the late 90’s (“FiST”) and have always considered myself a third waver, in large part thanks to zines.) Kathleen Hanna put out her own zine, too. Read the linked article above.
2. It’s now a fully funded kickstarter project. That’s impressive in itself seeing as how the campaign goal was pretty high: $44,000. Many crowdfunded projects crash and burn due to too-high campaign goals. Today, with 16 days left in the campaign, it has surpassed its goal by over $4,000. They continue raising money, and the majority of the project’s kickstarter backers pledged at the “over $25” or “over $50” level. It is truly a small donation fundraising success. In addition to Anderson spending her own savings on her documentary, she has nearly 1,000 backers on kickstarter.
Why is THIS project a crowdfunding success and not so many other (also deserving) projects? It’s probably a combination of factors, and that’s one mystery to the whole crowdfunding phenomenon. What’s in the zeitgeist and what appeals to people at any given time? Who’s likely to donate? Are you depending upon your personal network as a filmmaker to raise these funds? So many questions arise from discussions about crowdfunding, and I hope to explore this issue more in the future here on Her Film.
3. It’s an independent project — a documentary — and NOT a story that has been co-opted by the studio system, adapted as a feebly written biopic and turned into a piece of garbage. And yet still there’s a HUGE audience for it. People like to watch documentaries and hear the truth and the facts about figures like Kathleen Hanna, huh? Go figure!
4. It’s a woman-focused, woman-made project. Yes! How Riot Grrrl is that? There’s a lot of talk online about it and a lot of excitement! Sini Anderson herself is a founding member of the famed Sister Spit spoken word & performance art collective.
To learn more about THE PUNK SINGER and to support this project, check out these links:
THE PUNK SINGER on facebook
Kathleen Hanna’s piece on THE PUNK SINGER
Bikini Kill on the Kill Rock Stars label
Listen to Bikini Kill’s 1991 “Double Dare Ya” off of their first album (with lyrics: We’re Bikini Kill and we want revolution Girl-style now!!!)