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Colgate Faculty Member Penny Lane

Penny Lane

Associate Professor of Art and Art History
Art & Art History , 306 Little Hall
p 315-228-6048


Directed the film Our Nixon (2013)
Directed Voyagers (2011)
Directed How to Write an Autobiography (2010)


Penny Lane's film NUTS! The Story of the Goat Testicle Impotence Cure & More premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

The mostly true story of Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, an eccentric genius who built an empire with his goat-testicle impotence cure and a million-watt radio station. Animated reenactments, interviews, archival footage, and one seriously unreliable narrator trace his rise from poverty to celebrity and influence in 1920s America.

Penny Lane has been making award-winning documentaries, video art, and essay films since 2002. NUTS! is her most recent feature-length documentary, premiering in 2016.  NUTS! earned her a Special Jury Award for Editing at Sundance. She has since been inducted into the Documentary Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

She is a Creative Capital grantee and was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2012. Her films have screened at Rotterdam, AFI FEST, Hot Docs, Full Frame, Rooftop Films, MoMA's Documentary Fortnight, and many other venues. Lane has been awarded grants from Cinereach, TFI Documentary Fund, LEF Foundation, NYSCA, Experimental Television Center, IFP, and the Puffin Foundation.

Her 2005 documentary The Abortion Diaries has become an important organizing and educational tool across the nation. The Abortion Diaries has screened in 42 states and worldwide at over 350 different community venues, ranging from bars to art centers to clinics to colleges, and also on Yes! Television and Free Speech TV.

Her writings and interviews have been published in INCITE! Journal of Experimental Media & Radical Aesthetics, Filmmaker Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, and On The Issues. From 2010 to 2011, she programmed the monthly Flaherty NYC series at Anthology Film Archives, showcasing risk-taking nonfiction films. Prior to coming to Colgate, she taught video and new media arts at Hampshire, Williams, and Bard colleges.

And yes, Penny Lane is her real name.


MFA, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2005; BA, Vassar College, 2001


  • Inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Documentary Branch
  • Catapult Film Fund grant
  • Special Jury Award for Editing, Sundance Film Festival
  • Best Editing in a Documentary Feature, Ashland Independent Film Festival
  • Best Feature, ANIMATOR Festival
  • Best Documentary, Hobnobben Film Festival
  • Best Documentary, Milwaukee Film Festival
  • Sundance Institute Artist Services grantt
  • NYCSA grant
  • Tribeca Film Institute Documentary Fund grant
  • “Best Documentary,” Seattle International Film Festival
  • Adrienne Shelly Award for Excellence in Filmmaking, Nantucket Film Festival
  • “Ken Burns Awards for Best of the Festival,” Ann Arbor Film Festival 
  • Karen Schmeer Award for Excellence in Editing, Independent Film Festival Boston
  • Cinereach grant
  • “25 New Faces of Independent Film,” Filmmaker Magazine
  • Creative Capital grant
  • Fellowship: IFP Documentary Lab
  • Best Short Film, Hammer to Nail Contest
  • Honorable Mention, Disposable Film Festival
  • Cinereach grant
  • Jerome Foundation grant
  • NYSCA grant
  • Tribeca Film Institute Documentary Fund grant
  • First place, FLEX Festival
  • Honorable Mention, AFI FEST
  • Best Experimental Film, New Orleans Film Festival
  • Best Essay Film of 2011, Short of the Week
  • 2nd Place (experimental), Athens Film and Video Festival
  • Residency: Yaddo 
  • Audience Award, Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art
  • “Most Badass!” Iowa City Documentary Film Festival
  • NYSCA grant
  • LEF Moving Image Fund grant
  • Experimental Television Center grant
  • “Best Documentary,” New Orleans Human Rights Film Festival 
  • Generation Award, Choice USA
  • “Best Documentary,” Carolina Film and Video Festival
  • NYSCA / IFP Distribution grant
  • Puffin Foundation grant 
  • First place (narrative short), Athens Film and Video Festival

Representative Screenings & Exhibitions

Click to expand.
(*denotes solo screening)
  • Holland Animation Film Festival
  • Sundance Film Festival (U.S. Doc Competition)
  • Ashland Independent Film Festival
  • Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
  • Sarasota International Film Festival
  • Maryland Film Festival
  • Seattle International Film Festival
  • San Francisco International Film Festivall
  • Nantucket Film Festival
  • Cleveland International Film Festival
  • RIDM
  • International Film Festival Rotterdam
  • Holland Animation Film Festival
  • Melbourne International Film Festival
  • Hot Docs
  • It’s All True Documentary Festival
  • New Zealand International Film Festival
  • Calgary Underground Film Festival
  • Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival
  • Docville
  • Annecy International Animated Film Festival
  • Animafest Zagreb
  • DOXA
  • The National Gallery of Art
  • Wassaic Project Film Festival
  • TRT Documentary Awards &amp; Festival
  • Pesaro Film Festival
  • Cork Film Festival
  • EM Media, VTape Festival
  • Traverse City Film Festival
  • Rooftop Films
  • Nantucket Film Festival
  • AFI Docs
  • Los Angeles Film Festival
  • Open City Docs Fest
  • Bildrausch Film Festival
  • Little Rock Film Festival
  • DOXA
  • Hot Docs
  • It’s All True Documentary Festival
  • Ann Arbor Film Festival
  • Atlanta Film Festival
  • New Directors/New Films
  • SXSW 
  • International Film Festival Rotterdam
  • MoMA: Festival of Film Preservation
  • IFP Filmmaker Labs Showcase
  • Louis Vuitton Cinema
  • *“(Almost) True Stories: Videos of Penny Lane,” SAW Video Center, Ottawa
  • *“Sometimes We Get Lossy: Penny Lane,” Winnipeg
  • Disposable Film Festival
  • Rooftop Films
  • Impakt Festival
  • Festival of (in)Appropriation
  • Hot Springs Documentary Festival
  • Greenpoint Film Festival
  • Festival Signes du Nuit
  • Antimatter Film Festival
  • Kickstarter Film Festival
  • Citizen Jane Film Festival
  • Camden International Film Festival
  • New Orleans Film Festival
  • DOXA Film Festival 
  • International Short Film Festival Oberhausen
  • Norwegian Short Film Festival
  • International Film Festival Rotterdam
  • Experiments in Cinema
  • Dallas Film Festival 
  • *Microscope Gallery
  • Berlin International Directors Lounge
  • Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
  • European Media Arts Festival
  • Iowa City International Documentary Festival
  • FLEX (Florida Experimental) Festival
  • *Millennium Film Workshop
  • *The Nightingale Gallery
  • video_dumbo
  • Dallas Video Festival
  • Rooftop Films
  • Experiments in Cinema
  • Aurora Picture Show
  • Big Sky Documentary Festival
  • Hot Springs Documentary Festival
  • Berlin International Directors Lounge

Representative Reviews & Press

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  • The Voyagers” [review],, Collin Souter, 01/06/2015
  • Our Nixon [review]” Millennium Film Journal, Rachel Stevens, Issue 59 (Spring 2014)
  • "Nixon White House Home Movies" NBC Nightly News, Nov., 10
  • "Rock Bottom: 7 Commanding Jackets" Rock Center w/ Brian Williams, MSNBC, Nov. 9
  • "Nixon Home Movies to be Screened" BBC World News, Oct. 29
  • “Restoring Film Gems,” The New York Times, Oct. 7
  • "Generation Next" Entertainment Weekly, Sept. 14
  • 25 New Faces of Independent Film,” Filmmaker Magazine, August issue
  • The Voyagers [review], Hammer to Nail, July 16
  • “The Other White House Tapes” Newsday, Jan. 27
  • “Nixon at home, Kissinger at the beach” The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 23
  • “On Space, Love, and Carl Sagan’s Cosmic Mixtape,” The Atlantic, Jan. 10
  • The Voyagers [review], Brain Pickings, Dec. 27
  • The Voyagers [review], Short of the Week, Nov. 5 
  • “Nixon home movies get wider screening,”, May 5
  • “Our Nixon documentary sheds light on Tricky Dick,” The Brooklyn Star, Mar. 22
  • The Voyagers [review], Cinespect, Feb. 21
  • “Celebrating Roe: The Abortion Diaries” [review], Catholic Maine, Jan. 29
  • “Penny Lane: Filming visions,” North Adams Transcript, March 19
  • “Two extraordinary films by Penny Lane” [review],, Feb. 9
  • “Mame Faye gets her place in Troy history," The Troy Record, June 16
  • "A Legend Remade," Albany Times Union, June 13
  • “Sittin on a Million” Entertainment Pick of the Week, Metroland, June 12
  • She used to see him most weekends [starred review], Now Magazine, April 10
  • She used to see him most weekends [starred review], Scene and Heard, April 9
  • “Filmmakers creating 'monument' to infamous Mame Faye,” The Schenectady Gazette, Aug. 12
  • “Scarlet Women of Collar City,” Albany Times Union, Aug 3
  • “The Many Faces of Mame Faye,” The Troy Record, July 30
  • “Filmmakers Focus on Troy Madam,” Albany Times Union, Sept. 6
  • The Abortion Diaries [review], The Feminist Review, March 1
  • The Abortion Diaries [review], Washington City Paper, Feb. 26
  • "Abortion film fosters discussion," The Daily Utah Chronicle, Jan. 26
  • "Speak Out" [cover story], Metroland, Jan. 19
  • The Abortion Diaries [starred review], Choice!, Jan. 19
  • The Abortion Diaries [review], Seattle Stranger, Jan. 19
  • The Abortion Diaries [review],, Dec. 5
  • “Beyond Dinner and a Movie,” off our backs, Nov. 1
  • "Telling Stories of a Personal Choice," Albany Times Union, Oct. 17
  • We Are The Littletons [review], New York Press, July 27
  • We Are The Littletons [review],, June 11
  • “The A Word,”, Sept. 20
  • "Women Waiting to Exhale," AlterNet, June 1