2020 Sundance Docs in Focus: THE GO-GO’S

THE GO-GO’S | Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Lynn Goldsmith

Alison Ellwood revisits the history of the 1980s pop phenomenon band.

Festival Section:
Documentary Premieres

Sundance Program Description:

In their early days in the Los Angeles punk scene, Belinda Carlisle and Jane Wiedlin were inspired, ambitious, and determined. They formed an all-girl band, called themselves the Go-Go’s, learned to play their instruments, and wrote their own songs. Their ascent in the early 1980s coalesced with great group chemistry, the birth of MTV and the music video, and their chart-topping album, Beauty and the Beat. However, as the pressure of fame and success grew, a familiar story set in, and hard drugs and alcohol, infighting, and resentment began taking their toll on them.

With candid interviews from the band themselves and other industry insiders, THE GO-GO’S shines with first-person tales, hilarious anecdotes, and juicy gossip. Director Alison Ellwood digs deep into the annals of Go-Go’s history, revealing all their hard work and exciting times, along with the messy truths and painful consequences, while never losing sight of their accomplishments. To this day, the Go-Go’s live on and remain one of the most successful bands who paved the way for female musicians in the music industry.

Some Background:



  • Trevor Birney
    Past Sundance docs:

    GAZA (2019)

    The Emmy-nominated Birney is the founder of Fine Point Films.

  • Corey Russell

    Russell is the president of Toronto-based Fadoo Productions. He previously executive produced music docs SATAN & ADAM and RUSH: TIME STAND STILL. This is Russell’s first Sundance project.

  • Eimhear O’Neill

    O’Neill produces through Fine Point Films. She has previously associate or co-produced doc features for Alex Gibney.

Executive Producers:

  • David Blackman

    Blackman is head of film & television development and production for Universal Music Group. Among the projects he recently executive produced is the Oscar shortlisted THE APOLLO.

  • Daniel Inkeles

    Inkeles is VP, scripted film & television for Polygram Entertainment, the film and television division of Universal Music Group.

  • Brendan J Byrne
    Past Sundance docs:


    The Emmy-nominated Byrne is also part of Fine Point Films.


Why You Should Watch:
Ellwood is no stranger to portraits of famed music groups, making her a fitting choice to take on the Go-Go’s. Deftly balancing a rich archive, candid interviews with the outspoken bandmates, and, of course, a fantastic soundtrack, she gives the groundbreaking group its due, without sugarcoating the more contentious and darker parts of their history.

More Info:
For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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