Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché

Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché

Poly Styrene was the first woman of colour in the UK to front a successful rock band, and a key architect of the riot grrrl and Afropunk movements. But the late icon didn’t just leave behind an immense cultural footprint. She was survived by a daughter, Celeste, who became the unwitting guardian of her mother’s legacy and demons. Misogyny, racism, and mental illness plagued Poly’s life, while their lasting trauma scarred the pair’s relationship. Featuring diary entries narrated by Oscar-nominee Ruth Negga, this documentary follows Celeste as she traverses three continents to better understand Poly as an icon and mother.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.


Paul Sng

Celeste Bell




Directors: Paul Sng, Celeste Bell
Executive Producer: Nikki Parrot, Natasha Dack Ojumu, Jack Oliver, Mark Thomas, Richard Coram, Bruno Waser
Producer: Rebecca Mark-Lawson, Matthew Silverman, Daria Nitsche
Screenwriter: Celeste Bell, Zoë Howe
Cinematographer: Nick Ward
Editor: Xanna Ward Dixon
Sound Designer: Raoul Brand
Music: Marina Elderton
Principal Cast: Ruth Negga, Kathleen Hanna , Thurston Moore , Vivienne Westwood , Pauline Black , Neneh Cherry , Jonathan Ross , Bruno Wizard , Ana Da Silva, Youth
Additional Credits: Associate Producers: Vanessa Lobon, Colm Forde, Jill Hearst, Assistant Producer: Morven Masterton, Research & Production Assistants: Raphael Pugh, Kiran Acharya, Lara Richardson, Lowenna Merritt, Joe Morris, Voice Casting Director: Martha Stewart, Music Supervision: Celeste Bell, Edit Consultants: David Arthur, Claire Ferguson, Assistant Editor: Jennifer Souter, Foley Recordist and Mixer: Sandy Buchanan, Foley Artist: Dave Poulton, Interview Transcriptions: Victoria Millington, Andrea Hailwood


Public Film Contact
Matthew Silverman
Tyke Films (on behalf of Rebecca Mark-Lawson)
Publicity Contact
Jon Rushton
07969 837 242
Primary Entry: Platinum Badge, Film Badge
Secondary Entry: Music Badge, Interactive Badge, Film Festival Wristband

Year: 2021
Premiere Status: North American Premiere
Genre: Biography, Documentary, Music
Screening Section: 24 Beats Per Second
Screening Category: Documentary Feature
Country: India, United Kingdom, United States
Language: English
Runtime: 96 mins