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Release Rundown: Docs on Indigo Girls, Synanon, and Girls
State Among Sundance Titles Reaching Wider Audiences in
Rick W
/ Categories: Film Score News

Release Rundown: Docs on Indigo Girls, Synanon, and Girls State Among Sundance Titles Reaching Wider Audiences in April

2023 Sundance Film Festival documentary “Indigo Girls: It’s Only Life After All” brings the beloved musical duo to the big screen this April.

By Lucy Spicer

Have you heard? Sundance Institute recently announced the dates of the 2025 Sundance Film Festival. We’re excited to do it all over again, but we’ve got plenty of new Sundance-supported releases to tide us over in the meantime. 

With four Festival documentaries reaching wider audiences this month, nonfiction fans in particular have a lot to look forward to. From the 2023 Festival come documentaries about folk rock duo Indigo Girls and a quest for a lost video rental archive. Nonfiction offerings from the 2024 Fest include an episodic series about the Synanon cult and a much-anticipated counterpart to the award-winning Boys State doc from 2020. Rounding out the list are two fun fiction features also from the 2024 Festival — one about human foibles in quarantine and another about sasquatch foibles in the wilderness.

The Synanon Fix — Sundance Film Festival veteran Rory Kennedy (Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, Downfall: The Case Against Boeing) returned to the 2024 Festival with an episodic series that documents the rise and fall of Synanon from the point of view of individuals who had been involved in the movement. Founded in 1958 as a radical, community-focused drug rehabilitation center, Synanon would gradually become a religious cult in the hands of charismatic founder Charles “Chuck” Dederich. Previously unseen archival footage and candid interviews with former Synanon members come together to demonstrate how people with the best of intentions can be isolated onto a violent path. Making its broadcast premiere on HBO April 1.

Girls State — In 2020, filmmakers Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss took home the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for their film Boys State. The Emmy Award–winning doc chronicled a weeklong Boys State session in Texas, where thousands of teenage boys came together to participate in a government simulation exercise. McBaine and Moss brought an eagerly awaited counterpart film to the 2024 Festival with Girls State. Focusing on the teenage participants at a Girls State session in Missouri, the documentary follows the girls as they run for office, preside over a court case, and discover the differences between their own program and the Missouri Boys State session that is taking place simultaneously. Streaming on Apple TV+ April 5.

Kim’s Video — In 1987, Yongman Kim started running a video and music rental business out of his dry-cleaning storefront in New York City. For 20 years, Kim’s Video and Music was the place to go to rent rare films. In 2008, Kim closed the business and gave his video collection away to a small town in Italy to be archived. The collection disappeared from view. In a 2023 Sundance Film Festival documentary that plays like a heist film, co-directors David Redmon and Ashley Sabin seek to track down and liberate the 55,000-title collection in the name of film aficionados everywhere. Arriving in select theaters April 5.

Indigo Girls: It’s Only Life After All — In 2023, folk rock duo Indigo Girls gained a new group of fans when their 1989 hit “Closer to Fine” featured prominently in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie. And what a good time it is to be an Indigo Girls fan, what with the release of Alexandria Bombach’s documentary Indigo Girls: It’s Only Life After All. The film — which won the Sundance Institute | Amazon Studios Producers Award for Nonfiction at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival — features archival footage, contemporary interviews with singer-songwriters Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, and Ray’s personal camcorder footage to paint an insightful portrait of a decadeslong friendship and musical partnership. Arriving in theaters April 10; available on demand May 7.

Sasquatch Sunset — Sundance regulars David and Nathan Zellner (Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, Damsel) co-directed this surreal glimpse of a sasquatch family that had audiences abuzz at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. Jesse Eisenberg and Riley Keough are unrecognizable as members of a bigfoot family going about their lives amid lush wooded wilderness. A dialogue consisting of grunts and roars adds to the mystery of this funny yet poignant slice-of-life film. Arriving in theaters April 12.

Stress Positions — After making her directorial debut at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival with the episodic series My Trip to Spain, Theda Hammel returned to Sundance in 2024 with Stress Positions, a hilarious feature debut that tackles a new genre — the pandemic lockdown film. Terry Goon (John Early) is quarantining in his ex-husband’s Brooklyn brownstone, where he is also charged with looking after his nephew Bahlul (Qaher Harhash), a 19-year-old model from Morocco recovering from a broken leg. Unfortunately for Terry, Bahlul’s arrival stokes the curiosity of his quirky friends, who start to invade the already tense Terry’s space to learn more about this mysterious model. Arriving in theaters April 19.

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