Since 2000, I\’ve been an independent producer for Boston Film & Video, a company I founded. Earlier, I produced for Boston’s commercial networks (mainly for Chronicle, a nightly newsmagazine) and WGBH.
My work has received the Peabody and DuPont awards, and Harvard’s Nieman Fellowship in Journalism. Grant funders include the National Endowment for the Humanities, Brit Doc, US Institute for Peace, The Guardian, and the International Bar Association.
My work includes a film and companion book on the untold story of the abandoned immigrant hospital on Ellis Island. Research and production took nearly a decade. Forgotten Ellis Island is in its second five-year run on PBS and a short version shows in the Ellis Island Museum. I’m co-executive producer for an Ellis-based project currently in development for tv/streaming series.
As a filmmaker and producer, I look for stories that provoke a connection, awareness and understanding, a response–that might make a difference.
Vimeo profile: https://vimeo.com/lorieconway
Website: bostonfilmvideo.com, Instagram, ellistvseries, and humansofellisisland
Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law (2014)
Although Beatrice Mtetwa’s arena is Zimbabwe, her message and bravery are universal. As an African woman, she has stood up to one of the continent’s most brutal dictators, Robert Mugabe. In spite of beatings by police, Beatrice has courageously defended in court those jailed by the Mugabe government—peace activists, journalists, opposition candidates, farmers that had their land confiscated, ordinary citizens that had the courage to speak up.
Beatrice’s story has been distributed by UK based Journeyman Films and has been broadcast and screened on four continents.Through a Connect Grant from Brit Doc and the Bertha Foundation, thousands of dvd’s have been given away to schools, community groups and churches. After teachers in Uganda watched the film, they organized a school, naming it after Beatrice, and are teaching human rights education as part of the curriculum. Today, Beatrice continues to inspire those within Zimbabwe and others around the world seeking to protect the rights of others.
Forgotten Ellis Island (2008)
Forgotten Ellis Island is the first film and companion book to be produced about the abandoned immigrant hospital on Ellis Island. During the great wave of immigration, twenty-two medical buildings sprawled across two islands adjacent to Ellis Island, the largest port of entry in the United States. Massive and modern, the hospital was America’s first line of defense against contagious, often virulent disease. In the era before anti-biotics, tens of thousands of immigrant patients were separated from family, detained in the hospital, and healed from illness before be-coming citizens. 350 babies were born in the hospital; many were named after the doctor’s and nurses that helped deliver them. Ten times that many immigrants died on Ellis Island, 3,500 were buried in pauper’s graves around New York City.
PBS is distributing the film nationally and an abbreviated version of Forgotten Ellis Island is shown in the Ellis Island Museum.
EveryoneStory, Stories Worth Sharing Series (2016)
EveryoneStory is a web-based video series, 2-3 minutes in length, that is in development, focusing on individuals whose values are upheld by society but who are seldom given voice. They are the “invisibles”– those working in the service sector, making our lives more comfortable, but working in an economy that insufficiently rewards and recognizes their contribution. Some of them work two jobs to make ends meet. Others struggle to find full-time work. They differ in their racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds. But they share a determination to contribute to their families and communities.
Everyonestory seeks to give these individuals a clear voice and a dignified face. The series aims to affirm their efforts and their basic decency, showing how, in their own way, they are helping to make the world a better place. From their stories comes reassurance that time-honored values, such as hard work and care for others, remain a bedrock of society and a transcendent theme in our society —a fact that is often brushed aside in a mediated world fixated on celebrity, terrorism and crime.
Featured here is an EveryoneStory about Nena Pavlovic, who came to the US as a war refugee from Bosnia. Even though she had accounting skills, not speaking English limited her job opportunities. When a job was offered cleaning and restoring pianos she took it, and in the process, Nena found much more than a paycheck.
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