The Film

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Love Between the Covers: The Popular Romance Project documentary film

Love Between the Covers, a feature-length documentary film, takes its audience into the heart of the global romance community — a female-powered storytelling sisterhood that is also a multi-billion dollar economic powerhouse.
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 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For three years, we follow the lives of five very diverse published romance authors and one unpublished newbie as they build their businesses, find and lose loved ones, cope with a tsunami of change in publishing, and earn a living doing what they love—while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.

Looking behind the scenes

We got unparalleled access. During production, we were invited behind the scenes at publishing houses; we were included on trips with romance authors and their readers to South Carolina and Alaska; we were allowed to film romance novel cover shoots; we filmed romance workshops on writing better sex scenes, building more convincing fantasy worlds, and negotiating favorable contracts; we saw a romance novel transformed into a romance film; and we were welcomed into the homes of romance authors, readers, bloggers, and publishers.

Thought-provoking questions

Love Between the Covers asks (and attempts to answer) many questions:

  • Who reads romance novels?
  • What are readers looking for?
  • What makes romance novels so satisfying that some romance fans read 3–7 books per week?
  • Why do some people scoff at romance?
  • Who writes romance novels?
  • How do readers influence writers?
  • How is it that age-old love stories can still be transformed into engaging page-turners?
  • How do seasoned authors manage to consistently produce three or more books per year?
  • How have they created a supportive community in a cut-throat industry?

Love Between the Covers and its relation to the larger Popular Romance Project

The film Love Between the Covers is one of four closely-linked programs in the larger Popular Romance Project. Throughout our production phase, posted excerpts from our interviews and field footage on this website, where our footage has appeared alongside blogs about popular romance from a wide range of perspectives. The footage we shot was also  used at the Popular Romance Project’s conference at the Library of Congress, where authors, scholars, and industry insiders discussed the deep roots of romance and its future in the digital age. In addition, Popular Romance Project’s nationwide library programs include screenings of Love Between the Covers and discussions with romance authors and scholars based on film excerpts and outtakes.


The Crew

Laurie Kahn (Producer/Writer/Director)

Laurie Kahn

Laurie Kahn

Laurie Kahn is the founder of Blueberry Hill Productions. Her first film, A Midwife’s Tale, was based on the 18th-century diary of midwife Martha Ballard, and Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard. 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’s previous work includes Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years 1954–1965, “The American Experience,” FRONTLINE’S Crisis in Central America, and “All Things Considered.”

Joseph Friedman (Director of Photography)

Joe Friedman

Joseph Friedman

Joseph Friedman’s early career consisted of over 15 years as a freelance DP for Good Morning America, The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, CBS Sunday Morning, Dateline, Nightline, and 20/20. His work has earned him an Edward R. Murrow Award, one of the highest accolades in the news business. His range of experience includes feature films, music videos, period pieces, docudramas, and dozens of documentaries, including Robert Duvall’s We’re Not The Jet Set and Angelo My Love.

Bill Anderson (Editor)

Bill Anderson

Bill Anderson

Bill Anderson has edited over 100 programs in the last 30 years, ranging from dramatic and documentary features to television mini-series and documentaries. His feature films include Looking for Richard directed by Al Pacino, and A Shock to the System. His documentaries include A Brief History of Time directed by Errol Morris, and over a dozen titles for the PBS series American Playhouse, including the Emmy Award-winning mini-series, Concealed Enemies. In addition, he was the extraordinarily talented editor of two Blueberry Hill Productions A Midwife’s Tale and Tupperware!

Gil Talmi (Composer)

Gil Talmi

Gil Talmi

Gil Talmi is a world-renowned Emmy nominated composer with a focus on socially conscious films. Gil has scored the Peabody Award winning documentaries Between The Folds and Who Killed Chea Vichea as well as New Year Baby, winner of the Amnesty International ‘Movies That Matter’ Award. Gil’s most recent feature work includes music forSavannah (dir. Annette Haywood-Carter), Entre Nos, (wr/dir. Paola Mendoza and Gloria LaMorte), andDavid (dir. Joel Fendelman). Furthermore, Gil has written music for the documentaries, Bill W., Forgotten Ellis Island and Daisy Bates: First Lady Of Little Rock. Gil was nominated for a National News and Documentary Emmy Award for his work on CBS Evening News and recently won Best Documentary Score of 2012 for his score for Tales Of The Waria.

Sharon Shattuck (Animator)

Sharon Shattuck

Sharon Shattuck

Animator Sharon Shattuck is a filmmaker and animator based in NYC. She is the co-creator of the New York Times Op Docs series Animated Life, which illustrates historical moments of scientific discovery using stringent journalism and paper puppets (the latest, “Seeing The Invisible,” premiered on 9/16/14). Her animations are featured in several award-winning documentary films and shorts, including the Emmy-nominated feature, The City Dark, which aired on PBS’s POV series in 2012, and The Search For General Tso, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014. She just had her feature film directorial debut at the Full Frame and Hot Docs Film Festivals, From This Day Forward, about growing up with a transgender parent, in early 2015. Her short video and animation work has appeared on PBS, Slate, ProPublica, Vice, and Radiolab, and she is a contributing blogger for the Huffington Post and the Advocate. She has degrees in environmental science and journalism.

Sofia Warren (Animator)

Sofia Warren

Sofia Warren

Animator Sofia Warren is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker, animator, and illustrator. Her animations are featured in the horror-comedy Clinger, premiering at Slamdance 2015, and in numerous commercials. She also worked on the documentaryFinding Tatanka, which screened at Big Sky Documentary Festival and Portland Film Festival. One day, she hopes to host a dinner party with Jan Svankmajer and Richard Linklater. Sofia graduated from Wesleyan University, where she studied film.


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