LANA WILSON is an Emmy-winning and two-time Spirit Award-nominated director and writer.
Her most recent film, the two-part documentary Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields, world premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, was a New York Times Critic’s Pick, and broke viewership records when it launched globally on Hulu and Disney+. Pretty Baby was nominated for two Cinema Eye Honors, including Best Broadcast Film, a Critic’s Choice Award, and two Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program.
Wilson’s previous film, the Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana, was the opening night film of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and is a Netflix Original. Miss Americana was a New York Times Critics’ Pick, an IndieWire Critics’ Pick, and was named one of the five best documentaries of the year by the National Board of Review.
In 2017, Wilson’s film, The Departure, about a punk-turned-priest in Japan, was critically acclaimed for being a poetic, profound, and moving exploration of what makes life worth living. The Departure premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017, played at festivals around the world, and was nominated for the 2018 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary.
The Departure was called “A work of art” by the San Francisco Chronicle, “A genuinely spiritual experience” by the Washington Post, and “Tender and moving…like a haiku” by the New York Times. The film was distributed by FilmRise and theatrically released in 30 US cities, beginning with a held-over run at New York’s Metrograph. In 2018 it was nationally broadcast on PBS’s DocWorld. The Departure has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating “universal acclaim.”
Wilson’s first film, After Tiller (2013), goes inside the lives of the four most-targeted abortion providers in the country, taking a powerful and complex look at one of the most incendiary issues of our time. After Tiller premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and went on to win an Emmy Award for Best Documentary. It was also nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary, four Cinema Eye Honors, a Satellite Award, and the Ridenhour Prize.
After Tiller was distributed by Oscilloscope and released in theaters in 50 US cities. The film was named one of the five best documentaries of the year by the National Board of Review, and featured in “Best of 2013” lists in the LA Times, Village Voice, Indiewire, Artforum, and more. Flavorwire named it one of the “50 Best Documentaries of All Time.” It played at film festivals around the world, where it won awards including the Documentary Jury Prize at the Sarasota Film Festival and the Human Rights Award at Full Frame. In 2014 it was nationally broadcast on the acclaimed PBS documentary series POV.
Wilson created and directed A Cure for Fear, a four-episode series for Topic, which played SXSW and was nominated for the 2019 International Documentary Association Award for Best Short-Form Series. Wilson is currently in pre-production on her first fiction feature, Back Seat, for which she won the SFFILM Westridge Screenwriting Grant and the Melissa Mathison Fund Award at the Hamptons Film Screenwriters Lab.
Wilson has been awarded artist fellowships from the Sundance Institute, MacDowell, Yaddo, and Film Independent, and has taught at Pratt Institute. She was named to DOC NYC’s inaugural “40 Under 40” list and is a recipient of the 2019 Chicken & Egg Award. Wilson is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Before becoming a director, Wilson was the Film and Dance Curator at Performa, the New York biennial of new visual art performance. She holds a BA in Film Studies and Dance from Wesleyan University.