Directors Tia Lessin & Emma Pildes discuss The Janes

Directors Tia Lessin & Emma Pildes discuss The Janes

April 27, 2022 A Special Projects Documentary Series Screening

The story of the clandestine network that provided an underground service for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions is unveiled in Directors Tia Lessin & Emma Pildes’s documentary, The Janes.

Lessin & Pildes’s film tells the story of the Jane Collective, a group of women who were part of a clandestine network that used code names, blindfolds and safe houses in an underground service for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions task years before the Roe v. Wade decision. The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

Following the DGA Special Projects Documentary Series screening in Los Angeles on April 27, Lessin & Pildes sat down with DGA Special Projects Documentary Series Subcommittee Chair Ondi Timoner (Mapplethorpe) to discuss the making of The Janes.

During the conversation, Lessin and Pildes shared how difficult it was to find the women who used the services offered by The Janes, but luckily they managed to reach one of the women through a newspaper ad they ran in The Chicago Reader. “We were very lucky with that and it was old school,” said Pildes. “It was in the paper that we were able to do it. We were at wits’ end and didn’t know what else to do.” Lessin added, “We ran an ad. People are still reading the newspaper!”

In addition to The Janes, Lessin’s directorial filmography includes the documentaries Behind the Labels, as well as Citizen Koch and the Academy Award-nominated Trouble the Water, both of which were co-directed with Carl Deal. The Janes is Pildes’s directorial debut. Both Lessin & Pildes have been DGA members since 2020.

You can listen to Lessin & Pildes' Q&A by clicking the podcast episode embedded below. You can find more DGA podcast episodes here.

Pictures

Q&A photos by Shane Karns - Print Courtesy of HBO

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