Wellesley Alumna’s Documentary Nominated for Emmy Award

Tracy Heather Strain directs the actress playing Lorraine Hansberry in a reenactment scene.
Image credit: Eric Levin
September 14, 2018

The latest film by award-wining director Tracy Heather Strain ’82, Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart, recently earned PBS’s American Masters an Emmy nomination for outstanding documentary or nonfiction series (winners will be announced September 17). Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film with the director.

This profile, by April Austin, originally appeared in the spring 2018 issue of Wellesley magazine.


From a brick-walled studio in Boston’s Fort Point Channel neighborhood, Tracy Heather Strain and her husband, Randall MacLowry, run their independent film company, the Film Posse. On the first level, staffers peer into computer monitors, while on the second level, a stairway opens onto the couple’s modest living space.

Sitting on a futon sofa, Tracy answers questions about her latest film, the feature-length documentary Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart, which was featured on PBS’s “American Masters” series in January. Tracy has been on the road, giving talks and screening the film, which has garnered wide acclaim. She says that it’s been a long process—14 years in fact—to bring this complicated woman to the screen.

Hansberry (1930–1965) is best known as the first African-American woman to have a play produced on Broadway, A Raisin in the Sun, its title taken from a Langston Hughes poem. The drama, starring a young Sidney Poitier, debuted in 1959, and it became a sensation. It was made into a movie in 1961. As a writer, intellectual, and civil rights activist, Hansberry’s star burned brightly during her life, which was cut short by cancer when she was 34 years old.

The full story can be found on the Wellesley magazine website.


Photo: Tracy Heather Strain ’82 (right) sits with actress Alexandria King, who plays Lorraine Hansberry in Strain’s film, during a reenactment filming at the Strand Theatre in Boston.