Lucia Small is an award-winning 25-year veteran independent filmmaker best known for her daring, boundary-pushing, first person non-fiction work. Embracing the notion of personal as political, artist as responsible participant, Small tackles complex political and social issue themes on gender, race, class, and the environment with rare intimacy, nuance, and humor.
In 2001, Small formed small angst films inc., a name that spoke to the interplay between art and life and the absurdity of taking oneself too seriously.
Since 2015, Small has been working on Girl Talk about five girl debaters from one top ranked Massachusetts’ debate team as they navigate the cutthroat, male-dominated world of high school debate. The film has been awarded support from the Sundance Documentary Institute, LEF Foundation, Rogovy Foundation, XTR Keep the Lights, and The Hershey Family Fund. She was invited as an artist with a work-in-progress to The Yaddo Artist Residency (2018), and as a fellow to Harvard Film Studies Center (2016-17 and 2017-18).
In 2002, Small launched her directing career with My Father, The Genius about her visionary green architect father fighting for “dreams for a better world in the face of reality”. The film premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival and received two top awards — the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary and Best Editing (edited by Karen Schmeer). After a successful festival tour, garnering additional festival awards, including a First Appearances nomination at International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA), My Father, The Genius was distributed by CS Associates and New Yorker Films. It was broadcast internationally and in the US and on the Sundance Channel in 2003.
In 2005, Small teamed up with seminal documentarian Ed Pincus of Black Natchez (1966) and Diaries: 1971-1976 (1981) and author of The Filmmakers’ Handbook, to co-direct, edit and produce The Axe in the Attic (2007). A story about the Diaspora of Hurricane Katrina and filmmaker as witness, the co-filmmakers blended a social issue documentary genre with first person non-fiction form. Supported by the Sundance Documentary Institute and the LEF Foundation, the film had its world premiere at The New York Film Festival in 2007 and screened at festivals worldwide, including the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, Cinema du Reel, and Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. It was distributed by Cinema Guild and IndiePix, and broadcast on the Documentary Channel.
Small and Pincus were invited as fellows to the Sundance Institute Documentary Story and Edit Labs in 2013 for their final collaboration One Cut, One Life (2014). Described as a bookend to Ed’s ground-breaking Diaries: 1971-1976, the film begins after Lucia loses two close friends to sudden, violent deaths and Ed is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Experimenting with two points of view, the film follows the journey of these filmmakers striving to capture life’s beauty in the face of death while also grappling with the moral dilemma of making the film against Ed’s wife’s wishes and his own strong desire for final artistic expression. Shortly after Ed’s passing, Lucia screened the film at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, the Independent Film Festival of Boston, and The New York Film Festival. In 2015, One Cut, One Life opened theatrically (First Run Features) to rave reviews and multiple critic’s picks.
When Small is not making her own films, she is making a living working as an editor and story consultant for others. Credits include: Amy Geller and Gerald Peary’s The Rabbi Goes West (2019 SF Jewish Film Festival 2019), Fiona Turner’s Eat Up (2018 IFFBoston/Karen Schmeer Best Editing Award), Brittany Huckabees’ After Fire (2016 DOCNYC), Gerald Peary’s Archie’s Betty (2015 Buenos Aires International Film Festival), and Lyda Kuth’s Love and Other Anxieties (2010 Camden International Film Festival).
With a background in environmental activism and art, Small got her media career start in public radio. Most notably, she helped launch and grow NPR’s first environmental news magazine program Living on Earth (1992-1994). When Small discovered film, she worked in both fiction and nonfiction, quickly gravitating to the role of producer. Small has produced several award-winning projects for ITVS, PBS, and American Public Television, including Beth Harrington’s The Blinking Madonna and Other Miracles (1995), Laurel Chiten’s The Jew in the Lotus (1997), and Katrina Brown’s Traces of the Trade (2008).