The Film

Love Between the Covers:
The Popular Romance Project documentary film [In Production]

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. Half of all mass market paperbacks sold in the US are romance novels. The books and their signature covers are visible everywhere, but the vast and varied community of women who write, read, and love romance narratives is oddly invisible to outsiders.

We are going to change that. By closely following two rock stars of the romance novel world, two midlist authors struggling to make enough money, and two aspiring authors documenting their efforts to land a first contract, Love Between the Covers provides an intimate view of the tight-knit world of romance writers and readers. Together they’ve built a different kind of community, using 21st century technologies, entrepreneurial smarts, and endless new variations of archetypal love stories — a community where writers listen to their readers, the pros mentor the novices, and real and lasting friendships are made.

Looking behind the scenes

We’ve gotten unparalleled access. Shooting over the past three years, we’ve been invited behind the scenes at publishing houses; we’ve been included on trips with romance authors and their readers to South Carolina and Alaska; we’ve been allowed to film romance novel cover shoots; we’ve filmed romance workshops on writing better sex scenes, building more convincing fantasy worlds, and negotiating favorable contracts; we’ve seen a romance novel transformed into a romance film; and we’ve been welcomed into the homes of romance authors, readers, bloggers, and publishers.

From around the world, several aspiring authors are keeping video diaries for Love Between the Covers, documenting their personal and professional ups and downs as they juggle day jobs, families, and writing romance in their spare moments. Through their eyes, viewers will discover just how difficult it is to become a successful romance author.

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 will be funny and thought-provoking. Comments made by our main characters will segue into transitional mixed-media animated riffs that raise big questions, allowing viewers to see romance stories as intriguing, often surprising cultural phenomena. Using images ranging from romance covers to sex education films to illustrations of radically different versions of the Cinderella story dating back thousands of years, we will leave viewers thinking about love in ways they’ve never thought about it before.

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, we’ve been posting 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 are shooting will be also be used at the Popular Romance Project’s conference at the Library of Congress, where authors, scholars, and industry insiders will discuss the deep roots of romance and its future in the digital age. In addition, Popular Romance Project’s nationwide library programs will 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!