Sundance is hoping to kick things off with a bang as it hosts its big return to an in-person festival.
Indigo Girls will perform at an opening night celebration for Sundance — the Grammy Award-winning folk rock duo are making their way up the mountain to premiere their new documentary, “It’s Only Life After All.” The celebration, dubbed “Opening Night: A Taste of Sundance presented by IMDbPro,” will take place on Jan. 19 in Park City, Utah. Proceeds raised will be used to help fund the Sundance Institute’s year-round work supporting indie film artists through mentorship programs, grants, and other initiatives.
As previously announced, special honorees of “Opening Night: A Taste of Sundance” will include “Call Me By Your Name” director Luca Guadagnino (Sundance Institute International Icon Award), “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler (Sundance Institute | Variety Visionary Award), “We Need to Talk About Cosby” director W. Kamau Bell (Vanguard Award for nonfiction), and “Nanny” director Nikyatu Jusu (Vanguard Award for fiction).
“We are excited to have the Indigo Girls perform at our opening night celebration and help kick off the festival as we honor inspiring storytellers,” said Joana Vicente, Sundance Institute CEO. “Emily Saliers and Amy Ray are bold independent artists who have spent their careers using their art to make an impact, like so many of the artists supported throughout the Institute’s history. We are honored that they will be part of this special evening, joining us after Alexandria Bombach’s documentary reflecting on their influential lives, ‘It’s Only Life After All,’ premieres earlier in the evening.”
Released in 1989, Indigo Girls’ eponymous major label debut sold over two million copies and launched hit singles such “Closer to Fine” and “Kid Fears.” The central duo of Emily Saliers and Amy Ray has recorded 16 studio albums, sold over 15 million records, and built a passionate global fanbase while advocating for such issues as LGBTQ causes, death penalty reform and Native American rights. They are co-founders of Honor the Earth, a nonprofit dedicated to Native communities, Indigenous environmental justice and green energy solutions.
“It’s Only Life After All” looks back at the duo’s musical partnership, while using Ray’s personal audiotape and camcorder footage along with interviews and archival footage.
“We are honored that ‘It’s Only Life After All’ is premiering on opening night at Sundance Film Festival, and we look forward to playing live later that same evening. Sundance Institute supports the work of independent artists who bring to life the stories of the human condition,” said Saliers. “It was a leap of faith to agree to participate in a documentary about ourselves. In fact, we weren’t quite sure why we were asked! However, the entire film team earned our trust throughout, and we feel proud to offer this look into our journey.”
“While it is somewhat uncomfortable for us to be examining ourselves so deeply and publicly, the context of this community places this documentary firmly within our longview of life and art. We have always hoped to be a catalyst for positive change and empower the individual to feel and celebrate their worth in this world,” said Ray. “Director Alexandria Bombach and the rest of the queer- and women-led film team put their heart and soul behind this documentary. It has been heartening to work with them and know that we are moving towards a day when all of us are clearly seen in our humanity.”
The event is supported by George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, Acura and Variety.