Love Between The Covers #PreRelease Book Blast
Love Between the Covers
A Documentary Film
Written, Produced & Directed by: Laurie Kahn
Releasing July 12th, 2016
Distributed by: The Orchard
Love stories are universal. Love stories are powerful. And so are the women who write them.
Love Between the Covers is the fascinating story of the vast, funny, and savvy female community that has built a powerhouse industry sharing love stories. Romance fiction is sold in 34 languages on six continents, and the genre grosses more than a billion dollars a year -- outselling mystery, sci-fi, and fantasy combined. Yet the millions of voracious women (and sometimes men) who read, write, and love romance novels have remained oddly invisible. Until now.
For three years, we follow the lives of five very diverse published romance authors and one unpublished newbie as they build their businesses, find and lose loved ones, cope with a tsunami of change in publishing, and earn a living doing what they love—while empowering others to do the same. Romance authors have built a fandom unlike all others, a global sisterhood where authors know their readers personally and help them become writers themselves. During the three years we’ve been shooting Love Between the Covers, we have witnessed the biggest power shift that has taken place in the publishing industry over the last 200 years. And it’s the romance authors who are on the front lines, pioneering new ways to survive and build communities in this rapidly changing environment.
Watch the Official Trailer
Director/Producer LAURIE KAHN’s films have won major awards, been shown on PBS primetime, broadcast around the world, and used widely in university classrooms and community groups. Her first film, A Midwife’s Tale, was based on the 18th century diary of midwife Martha Ballard and Laurel Ulrich’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Midwife’s Tale. It won film festival awards and a national Emmy for Outstanding Non-Fiction. Her film TUPPERWARE! was broadcast in more than 20 countries, won the George Foster Peabody Award and was nominated for a national Best Nonfiction Director Emmy. Kahn previously worked on Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, The American Experience, FRONTLINE’S Crisis in Central America, All Things Considered, and Time Out. She’s a resident scholar at Brandeis’s Women’s Studies Research Center.
10 Surprising Facts about Romance Novels by Laurie Kahn
Four years ago, when I began making my documentary film Love Between the Covers, I stepped into a community I knew nothing about: the global network of women who write, read, and love romance novels. What I found surprised me. Here are ten things I learned:
1. Romance fiction is a billion-dollar industry
Romance novel sales total more than a billion dollars a year. They sell as much as sci-fi, mystery, and fantasy combined.
2. The romance readership is HUGE and global
More than 70 million people in the USA alone read at least one romance novel per year, and most of them read many more. The work of popular American romance writer Nora Roberts is translated into 33 languages and distributed on 6 continents.
3. There is a surprisingly wide range of romance novels
Like romance blogger Sarah Wendell says, "Whatever your cup of tea is, someone's pouring it."
Romance novels are often equated with "bodice-rippers," but the steamy historicals with Fabio on the cover were published back in the 1970s and 1980s. Since that time, the spectrum of romance novels has exploded. On one end of that spectrum, there are chaste evangelical romances. On the other end, there are BDSM romances (yes, likethat one).
In between, you'll find paranormal romance with vampires and shapeshifters, time-travel romance, historical romance, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense. There are growing romance subgenres for LGBT love stories, a large community of writers who specialize in African-American romance, and there's even a popular Amish romance subgenre.
4. Everybody's writing romance
Women of every description (and a small number of men) are the engine of this industry.
Contrary to expectations, romance authors come from every economic class, every racial group, every sexual preference, and every level of education.
When I asked the pioneering African-American romance author Beverly Jenkinsabout her peers, she told me, "Women from all walks of life do this. We're not sitting in the proverbial trailer park in ratty nightgowns, eating jelly beans and watching soap operas. There are some pretty powerful women doing this! Geneticists, astrophysicists, lawyers, doctors..." The list goes on.
Project History – Love Between the Covers
By Laurie Kahn, Director
Romance is the behemoth of the publishing industry; it outsells mystery, sci-fi, and fantasy combined. Yet no filmmaker has ever taken an honest look at the amazing global community that romance writers and readers have built.
As a documentary filmmaker, I want to bring the lives and work of compelling women to the screen, because any industry dominated by women is typically dismissed as trivial and “merely domestic.” My previous films -- A Midwife’s Tale and Tupperware! – are very different from one another, but they were both shaped by my desire to look honestly at communities of women who haven’t been taken seriously (but should be), who deserve to be heard without being mocked.
I knew very little about the romance community when I decided to make this film. But the further I got into this subject, the more convinced I became that the romance community is not only an interesting sisterhood including more than 100 million women around the globe, but also a phenomenon to learn from.
No filmmaker has ever had the access we’ve had. We have been allowed to film behind-the-scenes strategy and editorial meetings at publishing houses; we’ve been included in the private lives of our main characters; we’ve captured public and private moments at conferences where thousands of romance readers and romance writers are gathered; we’ve been invited to shoot on trips with authors and their fans in South Carolina, Alaska, and Texas; we’ve been allowed to film both high-end and low-budget romance cover shoots; and we’ve been granted an unusually intimate interview with superstar Nora Roberts.
Love Between the Covers is one part of a larger effort called the Popular Romance Project that I dreamt up five years ago. To pull off this huge project, I found fabulous partners: The Library of Congress Center for the Book, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, and the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR). They’ve all been a pleasure to work with!
The Popular Romance Project explores the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and internet fan fiction, taking a global perspective—while looking back across time as far as the ancient Greeks.
In addition to the film the Popular Romance Project includes:
- PopularRomanceProject.org – the interactive, content-rich website launched in 2011 by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. The site allows its users to see romance novels in a broad context across time and place—with a huge archive of Love Between the Covers interview excerpts, teaching resources, and blogs by romance authors, scholars and industry insiders.
- What Is Love? Romance Fiction in the Digital Age – an international, multimedia conference of scholars, writers, and readers, hosted by The Library of Congress Center for the Book, funded by Harlequin and the Nora Roberts Foundation. The conference took place on February 11, 2015 at the Library of Congress -- open to the public and free. It was an exciting, stimulating day for all who were there, and videos of the panels will be available at the Library of Congress website.Our advisory board and colleagues at IASPR have been there to help us every step of the way. IASPR’s current president, Pamela Regis, was the co-chair of the conference at the Library of Congress.Many institutions and individuals have supported this project: the National Endowment for the Humanities, Mass Humanities, the Nora Roberts Foundation, Romance Writers of America, Amazon.com, Harlequin Enterprises, the Tavris Fund at Brandeis University, our amazing supporters at Kickstarter, and those who’ve donated through our website, ovebetweenthecovers.com.
Q&A with Laurie Kahn, writer, producer and director
Please give us your description of the film playing.
While romance novels and their signature covers are ubiquitous around the world, the global community of millions of women who read, write, and love them remains oddly invisible. Love Between the Covers is the fascinating story of five very different authors who invite us into a vast female community that’s running a billion dollar industry on the cusp of an irreversible power shift. In Love Between the Covers, we enter one of the few places where female characters are always center stage, where justice prevails in every book, where women win what they want, and the broad spectrum of desires of women from all backgrounds are not feared, but explored unapologetically.
What drew you to this story?
I want to bring the lives and work of compelling women to the screen, because any industry dominated by women is typically dismissed as trivial and “merely domestic.” My previous films -- A Midwife’s Tale and Tupperware! – are very different from one another, but they were both shaped by my desire to look honestly at communities of women who haven’t been taken seriously (but should be), who deserve to be heard without being mocked.
What was the biggest challenge in making the film?
Two things really. Raising the money (isn't that always the case?). And figuring out how to structure the film. Love Between the Covers is more than the story of five characters; it is the story of an unrecognized global community. Structuring this film was even harder than structuring a film with five characters (which is a difficult task in and of itself!). We finally found a solution in the editing room.
What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theatre?
I want people to realize how deeply ingrained we all are in dismissing anything that is by women, for women and about women. Many romance readers told me stories of complete strangers looking over their shoulders on a train, or at the beach, leaning over and asking them, "Why do you read that trash?" I really don't think that would happen to someone reading a mystery or a thriller! Romance novels are dismissed as simplistic. People who've never read a romance novel tell me, "They are formulaic. They all end happily." But all genre fiction ends with a happy ending. Mysteries all begin with a crime and end with the case solved -- a guaranteed happy ending. Arnold Schwarzenegger is never killed in his movies. The good guys always win. So why are romances singled out? I think it has to do with a devaluation of women's work and a deep-seated fear of women's desires.
What's the biggest misconception about you and your work?
People tend to dismiss my ideas as fluffy. When they see the finished films, they realize the topics are not fluffy
How did you get your film funded? (Is it a studio film, a crowdsourced film, somewhere in between?) Share some insights into how you got the film made.
I started out with development funding from Mass Humanities, the Romance Writers of America, and the Nora Roberts Foundation. I then raised more than my $50K goal in a Kickstarter campaign (I raised $58K). That allowed me to start shooting. Most of my production funding came from the National Endowment for the Humanities. And several foundations and dozens of individuals came through for me at the end when I needed to pay for music rights, do our sound mix and color correction.
Believe it or not, Love Between the Covers and the larger Popular Romance Project it's part of have been attacked in the US Congress. Senator Coburn railed about the project in the US Senate, insisting it was silly and trivial. And Rep. Salmon introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives (H.R. 5155 - see attached), to kill this project! Fortunately, the bill didn't pass!
**Originally from: Indiewire – Women & Hollywood – Interview by Laura Berger http://blogs.indiewire.com/womenandhollywood/hot-docs-2015-women-directors-meet-laurie-kahn-love-between-the-covers-20150424
For more information on the film, http://www.lovebetweenthecovers.com/