Pittsfield native Beth Levison (Pittsfield High School 1987) is the filmmaker behind LEMON, a feature-length documentary that will be soon set to screen at the Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFFMA) on June 1st (Great Barrington Triplex, 8:45 pm) and June 2 (Pittsfield’s Beacon Theater, 11:30 am). LEMON is a film about the power of words to transform a life – really to save it – and we encourage the community to consider viewing it.
LEMON is about three-time felon Lemon Andersen and his fight to wrest his family from poverty through his autobiographical, one-man show County of Kings. In 2003, Lemon was part of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and won a Tony Award when the producers brought the show to Broadway. But soon after the show closed, Lemon lost everything and was forced to move his family back into the projects to live with his wife, two children and thirteen family members. The film chronicles his multi-year attempt to break a cycle of generational poverty and get out of the those projects once and for all by writing his story County of Kings for the New York stage. Following his anxiety-filled lows, his betrayals, and his struggle to leave his brutal past behind, the film ends when Spike Lee happens to see Lemon’s show and produces it at the famed Public Theater to critical acclaim.
Now making the rounds of the festival circuit, the film has found an audience among viewers of all ages and experiences – underserved youth, poetry lovers, theater mavens, and simply those with their own dreams – each in their own specific way. Levison will be at both BIFFMA screenings doing the Q& A to follow