Grammy-winning musician Annie Clark (a.k.a. St. Vincent) and Carrie Brownstein find themselves at the crossroads of fame, friendships, and their true selves in the first trailer for The Nowhere Inn. The film is a metafictional account tracing director Carrie Brownstein’s (the Sleater-Kinney member and Portlandia star, playing herself) work as she tries to document the rock ’n’ roll life of her best friend, Grammy-winning musician St. Vincent (a.k.a. Annie Clark).
Problems arise when Clark proves to be a very different person on stage than off-stage. One moment she’s a latex-clad rockstar, and the next she’s a reserved nerd playing Scrabble. A Black Swan-eqse transformation begins as Clark tries to inhabit the St. Vincent persona all the time, blurring the lines between her real self and who she is in concert. What starts as attempts to be edgy and live up the rocker lifestyle—including filming a sex tape with Dakota Johnson—then turns into St. Vincent seeking control over the documentary, devolving into a Lynchian fusion of David Byrne’s True Stories and Documentary Now!. Clark, devoured by narcissism, threatens to consume Brownstein as well. Of course, none of this is real, but works to emulate the Portlandia style of parody in something that feels more representative of Carrie Brownstein and Annie Clark than a real documentary ever could.
Prior to the film, Brownstein and Clark worked together on Sleater-Kinney’s 2019 album, The Center Won’t Hold. The Nowhere Inn is directed by another past collaborator, Bill Benz, who served as a director and editor on Portlandia. Clark also composed, recorded, and produced the soundtrack for the film in addition to starring, producing and writing it alongside Brownstein. The Nowhere Inn first premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January of 2020, and will open in theaters and VOD September 17.