Journalist Laura Checkoway has penned revealing celebrity profiles and investigative features for numerous publications and is the former senior editor of Vibe magazine. Her acclaimed first book, My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep's Prodigy, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2011. Lucky is her documentary feature debut. [IMDB]
Lucky will play at DOC NYC on November 21.
Women and Hollywood: Please give us your description of the film playing.
Laura Checkoway: Spanning more than five years on the streets of NYC, this intimate story of survival follows Lucky Torres, a homeless mother masked in tattoos who longs to rise from a life of darkness.
WaH: What drew you to this story?
LC: Lucky is a complex woman and I was looking to understand her -- complications, contradictions, boldness and unwillingness to conform. Also, the circumstances and backdrop of her life depict the failures of foster care and social services systems in this country. Abuse, homelessness, and the list goes on -- all issues that need to be looked at more often and more closely. I was also drawn to the bond between Lucky and the circle of supportive women in her life and to the sisterhood between her and her younger sister Fantasy.
WaH: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?
LC: This is my first film and I have no formal film training, so learning as I went presented many challenges. Sticking with the same story for so many years, it was hard to imagine a light at the end of what felt like a very dark tunnel at times.
WaH: What advice do you have for other female directors?
LC: Stay true to your vision and be courageous and unapologetic about the integrity of your work.
WaH: Do you have any thoughts on what are the biggest challenges and/or opportunities for the future with the changing distribution mechanisms for films?
LC: It's exciting and empowering that we're no longer bound by traditional distribution channels. At the same time, it seems like everyone's constantly filming and photographing themselves and attention spans are diminishing. I hope that the quality of content and long-form storytelling doesn't get totally lost.
WaH: Name your favorite women directed film and why.
LC: I'm not big on favorites but I admire Agnes Varda. Also, Frida by Julie Taymor, Winter's Bone by Debra Granik and Laura Poitras' documentary The Oath, among others. Why? Because they're great.
Watch the trailer for Lucky: