An Interview with filmmaker Pamela Tanner Boll

As a college student, I interned with Women Make Movies, an organization that helps female filmmakers at every stage of their projects. I caught a glimpse of how difficult it was for women to get their stories to the screen, but I never saw into these women’s private lives, didn’t know if any were mothers; now that I’m a mother myself, I think about the intersection of motherhood and creativity all the time. So after I watched and wrote about the documentary, Who Does She Think She Is?, which profiles several mother-artists, I decided to interview the woman behind the film, director Pamela Tanner Boll. The result of that conversation has been published at Literary Mama this week; here’s a brief excerpt:

Caroline: How do you write a documentary film? Do you start with a loose script and then adapt based on interviews? Are there certain questions you have in mind before you begin, or do you leave yourself open?

Pam: I did not “write” the documentary until we began editing. I had a very firm conviction that I would follow these awesome amazing women as they made their way through their days, their art studios, their breakfast dishes, and errands, and loneliness and see what happened.

I wanted to stay open to the story. I did have certain questions, the main one being, what made it possible for these women to not give up on their dreams? What made it possible for each of them to believe in their voice, their talent, their truth despite lack of support and often, little recognition?

Caroline: Who are some filmmakers and writers you admire, or who influences your work?

Pam: I am more influenced by writers than filmmakers. I grew up reading, reading, reading. Some of my favorite books and authors are Virginia Woolf, especially To the Lighthouse; George Eliot’s Middlemarch; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; The Color Purple, just to name a few.

I was an avid movie watcher all throughout my childhood and early adult years. I loved all the Walt Disney films and the Tarzan series with Johnny Weismuller and Bonanza — big family dramas.

Click on over to Literary Mama to read the rest!

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