Alexandria Bombach, the director of the Indigo Girls documentary “It’s Only Life After All,” discovered the band when she was 12 years old — and as a pre-teen whose parents had recently divorced, Bombach found solace in the folk-rock duo’s lyrics. At that point, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls were already icons, with their1989 Indigo Girls’ eponymous major label debut selling over two million copies.
“That 12-year-old me saw how Amy and Emily prioritized authenticity, community and service,” says Bombach.
Over two decades later, Bombach (“Frame By Frame,” “On Her Shoulders”) attended an Indigo Girls concert in Los Angeles. “I was completely emotional,” says Bombach. “I looked around, and so many other people were also crying.” Afterward, the helmer found herself backstage with Saliers and Ray and was “blown away” by the duo — and that’s when Bombach knew that she wanted to make a doc about the band. So she asked.
“They had been approached in the past, but always said no because it wasn’t the right fit,” says Bombach. “After they saw my last film, ‘On Her Shoulders,’ they reached out and said, ‘We would like you to do this doc.’”
Four years later, Bombach is heading to Sundance to premiere “It’s Only Life After All.” The 123-minute docu tells the story of Ray and Saliers, who began their musical connection as high school students in Decatur, Georgia, and unexpectedly rose to fame with the 1989 hit “Closer to Fine.” Fans fell in love with their harmonies, moving lyrics, and ability to defy genre with a vast range of musical breadth — from folky, soulful ballads to punk-inspired rock anthems. But despite their success, Saliers and Ray, who are both lesbians, battled misogyny, homophobia, and a harsh cultural climate chastising them for not fitting into a female pop star mold. As a result, they each grappled with the impact of internalizing those messages. While they wrestled with career struggles, Ray and Saliers began supporting grassroots activism and speaking out against social and environmental injustice.
Bombach tells the rock duo’s story using Ray’s home movies, archival footage and present-day verité.
Variety exclusively unveils the first clip of “It’s Only Life After All” above. Cinetic is repping worldwide sales.