Jane Anderson and Michelle Boyaner talk “Packed in a Trunk” and new projects

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AE: Is the word out in the art scene? Are there gallery owners and collectors that maybe are looking for the name Wilkinson now?

JA: I don’t know. We have our one major collector in Provincetown who is finding things, but I haven’t been contacted by any other galleries.

MB: But we have definitely been contacted by lots of museums, lots of people wanting, you know, “Would you bring her work here?” The story has resonated with a certain level within the art community, and the hope is obviously to really, really solidify Edith’s place. But Provincetown’s art scene and established art community have absolutely accepted her and this narrative and her part in history.

 

AE: Michelle, the scene with the medium–it goes against the typical fact-based narrative of most documentaries that fall within your genre. I’m sure you were aware of this, so why’d you go ahead with it anyway?

MB: Here’s the thing: it was put out there in a way, and we tried to say this in the film, which was take this or leave it. Jane herself was a skeptic. This was another one of those, “Please trust me on this. Just let’s do it.” And the reason is my own personal belief system allows that that is a tool that could be of use to us.

We worked for about a year to try to get to Lisa Williams without providing any of the backstory or anything, to really keep everything completely with a clear palette so that it could be an even playing field when we did it.

Ultimately as filmmakers, yeah, it is our job to definitely present to you the things that occur and the events that occur. You definitely have documentary filmmakers who have different methods of things. This was just a risk I wanted to take and I was very grateful that my partners allowed us to take it. The response overwhelmingly has been positive.

JA: The reason, Daniela, I like it and, as Michelle said, I was skeptical and I was worried about how it might not be good as documentary filmmakers to include something like that, but I think ultimately what that section does is that it throws an extra bit of narrative possibility about the relationship between Fannie and Edith. Because up until then, everybody had been idealizing this relationship.

Michelle BoyanerDirector Michelle Boyaner - Courtesy of Wolfe Video

AE: So what’s next for both of you in terms of projects?

JA: I’m back doing my other projects. I have a new project with HBO that I’m partnering again with Frances McDormand, and we’re going to do a miniseries. I’m also going to be directing a film I’ve written about a woman named Ann Weldy. I don’t know if you’re familiar with The Beebo Brinker Chronicles.

 

AE: Yes!

MB: Hold on to your hat, Daniela!

JA: Yeah! So Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner bought the rights to this book and they came to me to see if I wanted to make a film. I saw that there’s a wonderful story in the woman who wrote those, Ann Weldy, who was living a straight life, living in the suburbs of Philly with her husband and two little girls. And she was running off to the Village to live the gay life and secretly having affairs. She wrote these lesbian books under a pen name. So I’m very excited about that project.

 

AE: Your project with Frances, the miniseries–can you tell us any more about that?

JA: It’s a pioneer story seen through a woman’s point of view, and it’s really about how in America we settled these beautiful woods, and eventually 100 years later they turned into big box stores. It’s going to be three two-hour segments. So it’s a giant, giant project.

Jane AndersonCo-writer - Executive Producer Jane Anderson - Courtesy of Wolfe Video

AE: What’s coming up for you, Michelle?

MB: I do narratives as well, but documentary is what’s coming up over and over again right now. So our current project is a feature documentary called It’s Not a Burden: The Humor and Heartache of Raising Elderly Parents. It’s all about this journey that I find that I’m in the middle of that I find so many of my friends in the thick of, which is helping our aging parents.

As of this moment right now, it happens to be that all the–we’re following different storylines–all the adult children happen to be gay. Different gay friends that are helping look after their parents. For some reason it sometimes seems that it falls on the gay kid to help with the parents. So we’re right now following three storylines locally and are in the midst of fundraising to go across the country and gather just a patchwork quilt of stories of people that are on this path of kind of the heartbreak and hopeful humor of helping our parents as they age.

Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson will be released on April 26 on DVD and digital platforms, including iTunes, Vimeo On Demand, and WolfeOnDemand.com.

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