Friday, December 19, 2014

The Romance Community on Film: LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a screening of a full rough cut of Love Between the Covers, a documentary that takes "an honest look at the amazing global community that romance writers and readers have built" ( Award-winning filmmaker Laurie Kahn (A Midwife's Tale; Tupperware!) notes on the newly-launched web site for Love that she has a special interest in exploring "communities of women who haven't been taken seriously (but should be), who deserve to be heard without being mocked." If ever a community of women fit such a bill, romance readers and writers surely do...

Kahn asked me and several local romance writers (the filmmaker works in eastern Massachusetts) to view the current "draft" of the film, and then to discuss it with her and with the film's editor, Bill Anderson. Laurie asked us not to give away any of the details of the film, but I feel safe in saying that Love Between the Covers gives a far less biased look at both the industry and at the (primarily women) who create or/and consume its wares (remember the "documentary" Guilty Pleasures, anyone?). I'm not sure which was more fun—sitting in Laurie and Bill's editing room, watching the rough cut on an oversized computer screen, or gathering around the fireplace in Laurie's living room, talking about the whys and wherefores of the filmmaker and editors' creative decisions, as well as the industry as a whole. Thanks, Laurie and Bill, for the invitation, and for listening to our feedback with such attention and care.

Patricia Grasso, me, Myretta Robens, and film editor Bill Andersen, drinking tea and exchanging ideas about
Laurie's film, Love Between the Covers

Laurie's project has been funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (as well as a successful Kickstarter campaign), and, perhaps unsurprisingly, has been a target for grandstanding politicians eager to denounce the exploration of romance as a wasteful use of taxpayers' money. One Representative (a man, of course) actually introduced a bill in Congress seeking to defund the Popular Romance Project, the web site affiliated with the film (more details here). Though the bill has not been passed, Laurie reports that NEH funding for the PRP web site has been put on hold. Needless to say, any donations to help defray the expense of completing the film would be more than welcome.

When will you have a chance to see Love Between the Covers? Another sneak preview is being screened in February 2015, at the Library of Congress, as part of the Center for the Book's free conference,  "What is Love? Romance Fiction in the Digital Age". Laurie reports that the documentary will also be screened at film festivals across the country (and the world) in 2015, and that several television outlets have expressed interest. If the film comes to a city near you before it premieres on broadcast TV, I'd recommend you jump at the chance to take a look.

In the meantime, you can find Laurie and her work at the web sites The Popular Romance Project and Love Between the Covers, and at twitter at @LoveBTCfilm.