The Nowhere Inn takes a stab at documenting the two-time Grammy Award winner St Vincent, aka Annie Erin Clark. St. Vincent sets out to film her life with “director” and friend Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia, Sleater-Kinney) in what turns out to be a mockery of the documentary when Annie is unable to marry her stage persona with her real life. Coaxed into spicing things up a little for the film, Annie devolves into someone else all together, even making a sex tape with Dakota Johnson with camera work duties taken on by an uncomfortable Brownstein. Check out The Nowhere Inn trailer!
“I wanted people to know who I really am,” Clark says in an on-camera interview for The Nowhere Inn, cut between scenes of Western shootouts and other surreal images. “One of the reasons why I wanted to make a documentary in the first place is I would finally be in control of the narrative. … A small part of me was starting to second-guess myself. All I can say is, somewhere along the way, things went terribly wrong.”
The official synopsis from IFC Films reads: “From real-life friends Annie Clark (a.k.a. Grammy award-winning recording and touring artist St. Vincent) and Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia, Sleater-Kinney) comes the metafictional account of two creative forces banding together to make a documentary about St. Vincent’s music, touring life, and on-stage persona. But they quickly discover unpredictable forces lurking within subject and filmmaker that threaten to derail the friendship, the project, and the duo’s creative lives.”
Clark describes it this way. “To use a sports metaphor, it used to be that artists and performers were the football players, and the rest of us were watching from the stands. Now, all of us are on the field. We’ve heard this a thousand times, but social media has made it so that everybody is performing a version of themselves,” she continued. “To your point, right now the focus in our industry is on performing authenticity, not otherworldliness.”
Carrie Brownstein speaking of Clark’s control of her personal life says, “This scaffolding that she has been so deliberate in constructing has allowed her to take more risks,” Brownstein said. “She presents this narrow strand of visibility. She can mess around with the whole thing of her being called doe-eyed or a gamine. There’s a classic kind of professionalism in the act, sort of like the old country stars-Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash. They let you know when you have access to their world. It’s a contrivance.”
Although Brownstein portrays the filmmaker in The Nowhere Inn, the movie was actually directed by Bill Benz (Portlandia, At Home With Amy Sedaris) in his feature film debut. The mockumentary thriller screenplay was penned by Annie Clark and Carrie Brownstein. See St. Vincent, Carrie Brownstein, and Dakota Johnson in The Nowhere Inn, premiering September 17 in theaters and VOD. If you are interested in getting to know the REAL St. Vincent/Annie Clark you could always take her masterclass.