Lana Wilson is an Emmy Award-winning director known for telling powerful cinematic stories about extraordinary human beings. Her most recent film, the Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana, was the Opening Night Film of Sundance 2020 and is a Netflix Original. Miss Americana was a New York Times Critic’s Pick, an IndieWire Critic’s Pick, and was named one of the five best documentaries of the year by the National Board of Review. The film was hailed by critics as “Thrilling,” “Captivating,” and “Inspiring,” and has had an audience of tens of millions of people worldwide.
Wilson’s previous film, The Departure, about a punk-turned-priest in Japan, was critically acclaimed for being a poetic, profound, and moving exploration of what makes life worth living. The Departure premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017, played at festivals around the world, and was nominated for the 2018 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. The Departure was called “A work of art” by the San Francisco Chronicle, “A genuinely spiritual experience” by the Washington Post, and “Tender and moving…like a haiku” by the New York Times. The film was acquired by FilmRise and theatrically released in 30 US cities, beginning with a held-over run at New York’s Metrograph. The Departure has a rare 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating “universal acclaim.”
Wilson’s first film, After Tiller (2013), goes inside the lives of the four most-targeted abortion providers in the country, taking a powerful and complex look at one of the most incendiary issues of our time. After Tiller premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and went on to win an Emmy Award for Best Documentary. It was also nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary, four Cinema Eye Honors, a Satellite Award, and the Ridenhour Prize.
After Tiller was acquired by Oscilloscope and released in theaters in 50 US cities. The film was named one of the five best documentaries of the year by the National Board of Review, and featured in “Best of 2013” lists in the LA Times, Village Voice, Indiewire, Artforum, and more. Flavorwire named it one of the “50 Best Documentaries of All Time.”
Wilson also works in episodic and short-form filmmaking. She created and directed A Cure for Fear, a short-form series about a groundbreaking scientist that was nominated for the 2019 International Documentary Association Award for Best Short-Form Series. Commissioned by First Look Media and Topic, A Cure for Fear played at festivals including SXSW 2019.
Wilson is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She has been awarded artist fellowships from the Sundance Institute, MacDowell, Yaddo, and Film Independent, and was named to DOC NYC’s inaugural “40 Under 40” list. She is a recipient of the 2019 Chicken & Egg Award. Wilson is a graduate of Wesleyan University.