Lana Lovell began directing in earnest five years ago, after working as a researcher and producer in news and current affairs.
Lana’s most recent documentary Resilience: stories of single black mothers screened at film festivals including the Mid Atlantic Black Film Festival in Atlanta where the documentary made the documentary awards semi-finalist list.
Other documentary titles include The Incomparable Jackie Richardson, made in 2008 for Bravo Television; it received accolades for its capture of musical performances, and Underground, the award winning short that premiered at Hot Docs in 2006.
In addition to directing, Lana has been active in the documentary community as a board member for DOC Toronto for the last four years.
Below, five questions for documentary filmmaker Lana Lovell.
Q: You worked as a researcher prior to directing. How big of a role does research play in your documentary efforts?
A: For me, whether it’s for documentary or drama, solid research is a fundamental building block of telling stories. It helps me to know the relevant facts, because I seek authenticity, even if it’s just to be confident I have a valid reaction in my story.
But it’s important not to get bogged down with research, (which I have done in the past) because for the best story I think it’s a balance between fact, plot and feeling.
Q: How important do you think it is to be active within the film community and how has it affected your career?
A: Early in my career I was very, very active in the film community. I had memberships with professional associations and groups, I sat on their boards. That engagement helped me be in the loop in terms of what was happening in the business, but as a black woman even after years of this work I still felt very much like an outsider.
Today, I’m working on having faithful and closer professional relationships with key people.
Q: Any advice on transitioning from shorts to features?
A: I’m writing feature films and drama. My advice is to pay attention to the people you meet as you go on your professional journey, people who you might want to work with, when telling your stories. You connect with people in the strangest ways and places. Note these people, that you have connection with, and tell them that you would love to work with them and then make it happen.
Help each other tell stories.
Q: What drives you to tell such intimate narratives?
Q: How do you strive to affect social change with your documentaries?
A: In my documentaries, I strive to tell people we are not alone, that there are solutions to our problems and that black people are powerful, courageous and good.