a Tale of Carats, Cons and Creating Your Own American Dream
The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne
directed by Kirk Marcolina and Matthew Pond
a World Premiere at Hot Docs
Friday April 26 – 7pm – Scotiabank Theatre 3
How does a poor, single, African-American mother from segregated 1950s America wind up as one of the world’s most notorious jewel thieves?
A glamorous 81-year-old, Doris Payne is as unapologetic today about the $2 million in jewels she’s stolen over a 60-year career as she was the day she stole her first carat. With Doris now on trial for the theft of a department store diamond ring, The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne probes beneath her consummate smile to uncover the secrets of her trade and what drove her to a life of crime. Stylized recreations, an extensive archive and candid interviews reveal how Payne managed to jet-set her way into any Cartier or Tiffany’s from Monte Carlo to Japan and walk out with small fortunes. This sensational portrait exposes a rebel who defies society’s prejudices and pinches her own version of the American Dream while she steals your heart.
“We’ve always thought this feel-good crime story, with no drugs or violence will resonate with a broad audience because of its universal themes and likeable characters,” says filmmaker Kirk Marcolina, “and who doesn’t love a naughty old lady?”
“We’ve attempted to go beyond the world of diamonds and glamour to explore race, power and authority without being didactic,” adds co-director Matthew Pond, “and so we’re excited and slightly nervous to see whether audiences connect with the film at its world premiere!”
Directors Marcolina and Pond are both award-winning filmmakers. Marcolina produced and directed Camp Out, which tells the story of the first Bible Camp for gay teens. Currently, Marcolina is producing, Limited Partnership, a feature documentary about the couple who, in 1975, filed the first federal lawsuit seeking equal treatment for same-sex marriage in U.S. history. Pond directed and co-produced the Inside Film award-winning short documentary film, Undressing Vanessa, and was the associate producer and consulting producer, respectively, on Tying the Knot and Four Seasons Lodge.
The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne is produced by Treehouse Moving Images.