Loren Lillian is the perfect woman to follow up my tribute to Lena Horne. Like Lena, she only does work she’s passionate about–and like Lena, who sang, acted and danced, Loren is also adept at more than one skill in the business: editing, directing, and acting.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Loren as an editor. She is as down-to-earth and gracious as she is gorgeous. Her editorial cutting skills are formidable; she can knock a promo out or labor over a feature, as she has with Haile Gerima’s TEZA, now in theaters. So imagine my surprise when I attend a screening of Shalako Gordon‘s taut suspense thriller The Truth About Lies…and see her ON SCREEN in the female lead role?!
Loren plays a woman in love–with a man she realizes she doesn’t know as well as she thought. The camera loves Loren Lillian (and what camera wouldn’t?). Gordon directs her steadily along an emotional rollercoaster of uncertainty, betrayal, and terror –and Loren delivers. Beautifully shot in Brooklyn, the film’s plot twists, young, fly cast and original score make it a must-see. Read on to find out how else this Sister Swan is making her mark.
What are you working on right now?
I’m directing a feature documentary, The Best of Friends. It’s a story about my father and his friends, who were the first Blacks to own nightclubs south of 96th street in Manhattan. Young Black men started a million dollar empire and ended up making history. Oh–and I’m auditioning a lot… of course.
What book(s) are you reading right now?
I’m reading a book called The Altar of My Soul: The Living Traditions of Santeria by Marta Morena Vega. And I’m currently reading and working on The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
Share something you do in your work that’s harder than it looks.
I do believe that folks not in the industry think it’s really easy to just book a legit audition. Let me tell you it is not! You really need agents and managers that will FIGHT to get you in the room. You just can’t walk up and audition for that TV show, or for Spike or Spielberg… even soap operas!
Describe a moment of sweet vindication.
Hmmm… I think I’m still waiting for one of these moments to happen.
What’s the most dangerous aspect of the waters you navigate?
Unfortunately, the film business is filled with some pretty grimy characters. Learning how to navigate around these people without losing yourself and your integrity and doing so while not burning bridges is necessary.
Name two places you call home.
NYC & DC… although I hope to change that soon to NYC & LA!
Who are your influences?
Paul Robeson, Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt, Anna Deavere Smith, Kasi Lemmons, Bette Davis and Raoul Peck- everyone that paved the way before me.
We all need creative stimulation to be successful. What is your favorite creative food?
Air popped popcorn, with no salt no butter. Just like eating air, but satisfying. I love it!
I nourish my creative side and am inspired by other artists- music, film, literature, visual artists. A different artistic field can spark something incredible within me. I’m also inspired by true life. Watching people and listening to real life stories. Most times it beats a lot of fiction and oftentimes becomes the basis for some of the characters I develop.
Any other films we films we’ll find you in?
Pariah, a Spike Lee-produced independent feature directed by Dee Rees, slated for 2010 release.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Cosmopolitan magazine –but please don’t tell anyone!
Too late, Loren! Your Cosmo secret is out! And so is the word on you!
Look out for LorenLillian.com coming to a browser near you. Click on the film’s title in the post to join the facebook Group for The Truth About Lies.