Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson

DIRECTOR: Michelle Boyaner

Bay Area Premiere

Expected to attend: Director Michelle Boyaner, Actor/Screenwriter Jane Anderson

Part detective story, part rumination, and all celebration, this warm and vivid film unpacks a very personal history of what it meant to be an artist and a lesbian in early 20th century America. Emmy-winning writer and director Jane Anderson (Normal, Olive Kitteridge, If These Walls Could Talk 2) grew up surrounded by her great-aunt Edith’s radiant Post-Impressionist paintings, which had been discovered by her mother in a West Virginia attic. The Fauvist colors and intimate subjects of the works are astonishing, but Edith Lake Wilkinson is virtually unknown. How could this be? Anderson set out to learn why, first as a young, freshly out lesbian in late-1970s New York City, and again, forty years later, as an accomplished artist in her own right, with a wife, a grown son, and a haunting feeling that hers was the life her great-aunt should have been able to live. Director Michelle Boyaner (A Finished Life: The Goodbye & No Regrets Tour, Frameline32) follows closely as Anderson retraces Edith’s story—she was committed to an insane asylum in 1924, at the peak of her career, separating her from her longtime partner Fannie and ending her art-making in the colonies of Provincetown—and combs through archives, consults experts, and even taps into the paranormal for clues about her life. Through the luminous, layered compositions of cinematographer-editor Barbara Green and under Anderson’s chatty, determined lead, Edith is revivified. Seen, she can now be known.

— Lucy Laird

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D316

Co-presented by:
California Pride
GLBT Historical Society

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