Penny Lane (filmmaker)

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Penny Lane
Penny Lane- IFFR 2018-2.jpg
Born (1978-03-06) March 6, 1978 (age 41)
Lynn, Massachusetts, United States
OccupationFilm director

Penny Lane (born March 6, 1978) is an American independent filmmaker. She is known for Our Nixon (2013), which she directed and co-produced with Brian Frye. Filmmaker magazine named Lane one of “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2012 for the films Our Nixon and Nuts! (2016).[1]

Lane is an assistant professor of Art and Art History at Colgate University.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Lane was born in Lynn, Massachusetts. She received a BA in American Culture and Media Studies at Vassar College in 2001 and an MFA in Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2005. She has taught film, video and new media art at Bard College, Hampshire College and Williams College. She started teaching at Colgate University in 2013.

Lane became interested in filmmaking when she was working at Children’s Media Project, a nonprofit youth media center in Poughkeepsie, New York. She started to direct and produce nonfiction films in 2002. Connect is her first screened documentary.[3] Since then, she successively made shorts, including The Abortion Diaries,[4] and The Voyagers.[5]

Lane met Brian Frye in 2008, and the two began to collaborate on Our Nixon,[6] her first feature-length documentary. The all-archival documentary premiered at the 42nd International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2013,[7] winning numerous awards and nominations at Seattle International Film Festival and Ann Arbor Film Festival.[8]

In 2016, the director’s second feature-length film NUTS![9] world premiered at Sundance Film Festival, and won the Special Jury Award for Editing.[10]


Our Nixon[edit]

Brian Frye introduced Lane to the Super 8 home movies confiscated by the FBI during the Watergate investigation.[11] The archival footage inspiring Lane and Frye became the basis of the 2013 released nonfiction film Our Nixon.

The documentary depicts a unique portrait of Richard Nixon and his closest aides, chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, domestic affairs adviser John Ehrlichman, and special assistant Dwight Chapin. The film contains footage from 26 hours of Super 8 home movies filmed by Haldeman, Enrlichman, and Chapin, as well as relevant news broadcasts and interviews.[12] Among numerous films about the Nixon and Watergate era, Our Nixon stands out for its distinct, intimate perspective and the stylized all archival editing choice.

Our Nixon had its world premiere at the 42nd International Film Festival in Rotterdam and its North American premiere at 2013 South by Southwest.[13] The film screened at multiple film festivals, including Ann Arbor Film Festival, where it won the Ken Burns Award for “Best of the Festival,”[14] and Seattle International Film Festival, where it won the Best Documentary Award.[15] Our Nixon was selected as the Closing Night Film at 42nd New Directors/New Films.[16] On August 1, 2013, CNN broadcast the film, and Cinedigm handled the film’s theatrical release.[17]

The Wall Street Journal wrote that the "highly personal view of the Nixon years is, for obvious reasons, a sad and wrenching one - a film that is nonetheless filled with spirit, humor and a bountiful sense of irony.”[18] Amy Entelis, senior vice president for development for CNN worldwide, praised the film for its “original material” and “unconventional” story telling.[19]


After encountering Charlatan, an authorized biography written by Pope Brock, in her local public library in 2009, Lane developed an interest in John Romulus Brinkley, a doctor who attempted to cure impotence via goat testicle transplantation in 1917.[20][21] The experimental documentary Nuts! mainly consists of animated reenactments and narration voiced by both actors and Brinkley himself.[22] “Brinkley’s story is not presented as the object of a neutral nonfiction gaze, but opportunity for viewers to actively wrestle with the ethical and epistemological issues central to the narrative nonfiction form,” Lane wrote in the home page of Nuts!.

Nuts! premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 22, 2016, and won the Special Jury Award for Editing in U.S. Documentary Competition of the festival. The documentary is announced to be released theatrically beginning on June 22, 2016, at the Film Forum in New York City.[23]

Rolling Stone named Nuts! one of the 12 best movies they saw at Sundance 2016, saying “the fact that it’s all true didn’t stop Lane’s film from ending with the best twist of this year’s fest.”[24]

Hail Satan?[edit]

An examination of the origins of The Satanic Temple and their brand of grassroots activism.[25] The documentary premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival[26] and will be distributed by Magnolia Pictures.[27] Lane described the editing for the film occurred in approximately six months, "concurrent with the bulk of shooting."[28]

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ Webmaster. "Penny Lane and Brian Frye | Filmmaker Magazine". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  2. ^ "Penny Lane - Faculty Directory - Art and Art History". Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  3. ^ "Connect". Vimeo. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  4. ^ Lane, Penny (2005-10-01), Abortion Diaries, retrieved 2016-11-01
  5. ^ Lane, Penny (2010-02-01), The Voyagers, retrieved 2016-11-01
  6. ^ Lane, Penny (2013-03-09), Our Nixon, retrieved 2016-11-01
  7. ^ "Our Nixon". IFFR. 2015-09-04. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  8. ^ Melton, Siân. "Sundance 2016 Women Directors: Meet Penny Lane – 'NUTS!' | IndieWire". Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  9. ^ Lane, Penny (2016-01-22), Nuts!, retrieved 2016-11-01
  10. ^ "Nuts!". Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  11. ^ "SXSW Q&A: Penny Lane, Director, Our Nixon". Mental Floss. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  12. ^ Frye, Penny Lane|Brian L. (2013-08-27). "'Our Nixon' Producers Respond to Claims the Documentary Is 'False'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  13. ^ "Our Nixon | Schedule |". SXSW Schedule 2013. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  14. ^ "Ann Arbor Film Festival announces 2013 award winners". Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  15. ^ "SIFF ANNOUNCES 2013 COMPETITION & GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AUDIENCE AWARDS". Seattle International Film Festival. 2013-06-09. Archived from the original on 2014-03-17. Retrieved 2016-11-01. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  16. ^ "'Our Nixon' To Close ND/NF". Tribeca Film Institute. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  17. ^ Willmore, Alison. "CNN Films and Cinedigm Acquire 'Our Nixon' For a Theatrical Release and TV Broadcast | IndieWire". Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  18. ^ Rabinowitz, Dorothy (2013-07-25). "A President and His Men". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  19. ^ Anderson, John (2013-07-26). "'Our Nixon' Uses Hundreds of Reels Shot by Staff Members". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  20. ^ Bernstein, Paula. "Filmmaker Penny Lane on Crowdfunding 'Nuts!:' 'Doing a Kickstarter is a Full-Time Job' | IndieWire". Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  21. ^ Luers, Erik. "Five Questions for NUTS! Director Penny Lane | Filmmaker Magazine". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  22. ^ "NUTS! Review | Film Pulse". Film Pulse. 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  23. ^ McNary, Dave (2016-03-30). "Sundance Documentary 'Nuts!' Set for Theatrical Release in June". Variety. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  24. ^ "12 Best Movies We Saw at Sundance 2016". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  25. ^ Robinson, Tasha (2019-01-26). "Hail Satan? puts the fun in Satanic fundamentalism". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  26. ^ "Hail Satan?". Sundance Institute. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  27. ^ "Sundance: 'Hail Satan?' Documentary Picked Up by Magnolia Pictures". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  28. ^ "Are We Comparing Trimming Unnecessary Footage with Murdering One's Infant Child?: Director Penny Lane - Hail Satan?". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  29. ^ "Creative Capital - Investing in Artists who Shape the Future". Retrieved 2016-11-02.

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