Penny Lane, a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, has been making innovative nonfiction films for over a decade. In 2018 she was honored with a Chicken & Egg Breakthrough Award, received the Vanguard Award at SF DocFest, and was admitted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She has been honored to receive mid-career retrospectives at the Museum of the Moving Image, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, San Francisco DocFest, Open City Documentary Festival and Cinema Moderne.
Penny has made six feature-length documentaries, most recently CONFESSIONS OF A GOOD SAMARITAN (Special Recognition Jury Prize, SXSW 2023). Previously, she directed LISTENING TO KENNY G (Toronto 2021) for HBO, HAIL SATAN? (Sundance 2019) for Magnolia Pictures, THE PAIN OF OTHERS (Rotterdam 2018), NUTS! (Sundance 2016) and OUR NIXON (Rotterdam 2013).For this and other work she has been awarded grants and fellowships from Sundance Institute, Creative Capital, Cinereach, TFI Documentary Fund, Wexner Center for the Arts, Jerome Foundation, Catapult Film Fund, MacDowell, Yaddo and many other organizations. She’s won many awards (including a Sundance Jury Prize for Editing) but is probably most proud of being “Most Badass!” at the Iowa City Documentary Film Festival in 2009, or perhaps being named “Queen of Documentary Cinema” by the Winchester Alamo Film Club in 2023.
Penny’s short films are distributed by VTAPE and include titles such as THE VOYAGERS (2010), JUST ADD WATER (2016) and WE ARE THE LITTLETONS: A TRUE STORY (2004). Her 2005 half-hour documentary THE ABORTION DIARIES has screened in at least 42 states & worldwide at over 350 different community venues, ranging from bars to art centers to clinics to colleges, and on Yes! Television and Free Speech TV. In 2006, Penny was given a Choice USA “Generation Award” for her work on this film.
Penny received her MFA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her BA from Vassar College. She was a college professor for over a decade, teaching film, video and new media art at Colgate University, Bard College, Hampshire College and Williams College. Now she works full time as a film director and co-founder with Gabriel Sedgwick of Spinning Nancy. She and Gabriel recently Executive Produced their first project, TIME BOMB Y2K, an HBO Documentary Film directed by Marley McDonald and Brian Becker.
And yes, Penny Lane is her real name (see FAQ).