Featuring bibliographer Brooke Kroeger
Nellie Bly Makes the News presents the story of Nellie Bly, a muckraking investigative journalist who changed the game for women in reporting before women even had the right to vote. This animated documentary draws from extensive primary sources, including Bly's own writing, and presents both real-world interviewees and re-enactments in several styles of animation and illustration.
Dissatisfied with the role in which Victorian society placed her, Bly grabbed an editor's attention with her spirited response to an article chastising women for going job hunting. This opened the door to becoming a proper reporter, but even then, she was relegated to writing fluff pieces about society and fashion. She sought the opportunity to do more and made waves after infiltrating an asylum by going undercover as a patient and reporting on the ongoing abuses inside.
This short film investigates the porous line between reporting facts and telling stories, while creating a dynamic portrait of a woman who refused to accept the status quo.
FILMMAKER'S BIO: Penny Lane's most recent film "The Pain of Others" premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Her previous films include "NUTS!" which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, where it won a special jury prize for editing. Her debut feature documentary "Our Nixon" had its North American premiere at South by Southwest, won the Ken Burns Award for Best of the Festival at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and was selected as the closing-night film at New Directors/New Films. Penny was named one of Filmmaker Magazine's 25 new faces of independent film in 2012. Her short films, such as "The Voyagers" (2010), have won accolades at film festivals and popularity online. And yes, Penny Lane is her real name.
FILMMAKER'S STATEMENT: "Nellie Bly asked in her very last column, 'Is it possible for us to struggle and overcome fate, or are we merely being swept along a course which all our efforts fail to alter or change?' In many ways, the life of Nellie Bly shows the answer to be both. On the one hand, there is no doubt that this woman forged, through nothing more than her own intelligence, energy and desire, a life that defied all odds. On the other hand, the structure of her historical moment contained and defined her -- as it does all of us, in all times."