i can only be

Mary lane




- Mary Lane



Run Time

60 minutes

Log Line

Born in 1935, Chicago Singer Mary Lane is one of the last living legends of American Blues. If only the world knew.


At 82, Mary Lane is one of the last legendary Blues musicians that made the Great Migration from America’s south. Although Mary is widely respected in Chicago, she has never gotten the wider recognition she deserves. I Can Only Be Mary Lane follows Mary as she records just her second studio album and first in over 20 years. Her producer thinks it could potentially win her a grammy, if only they can get it done.

The Artist

A longtime staple of Chicago's West Side Blues circuit, singer Mary Lane was born November 23, 1935 in Clarendon, Arkansas. After honing her skills in local juke joints in the company of Howlin' Wolf, Robert Nighthawk, Little Junior Parker and James Cotton, Lane relocated to Chicago in 1957; backed by Morris Pejoe, she soon cut her debut single "You Don't Want My Lovin' No More" for the Friendly Five label. A favorite among peers for her dulcet tones, she nevertheless did not record again for several decades, remaining virtually unknown outside of the Chicago Blues faithful.



Meet the Filmmakers



Jesseca Ynez Simmons

Director | Producer | Cinematographer | Editor

Jesseca is an award-winning filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist. Jesseca was a finalist for the 2016 American Society of Cinematographers’ Vilmos Zsigmond Award and a 2015 Southern Exposure Film Fellow for the Southern Environmental Law Center in Birmingham, AL. Her directorial projects have gone on to show at over 50 festivals worldwide and have garnered numerous awards. Jesseca also works as a cinematographer and her images have been screened at the Int’l Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), Hot Docs Film Festival, Chicago Int’l Film Fest, DocLisboa, Sidewalk Film Festival as well as on National Geographic. Originally from the Bay Area, she received her BA in Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She then moved to the Midwest to earn her MFA in Documentary Media from Northwestern University where she was invited to continue post-MFA as Filmmaker in Residence. Jesseca is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Dayton.

Photo by Kevin P. Gorey

João Queiroga


João Queiroga is a Portuguese award-winning director, editor and educator based in New York City. His work has been seen internationally including at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), Hot Docs Film Festival, DocLisboa, British Film Institute and many others. João holds an MFA in documentary media from Northwestern University's School of Communication. He is a Calouste Gulbenkian scholar, a Hoffman scholar, a Davis UWC scholar, and a Fulbright recipient. João has taught at Northwestern University in Doha, Qatar, and is currently teaching at New York Film Academy.

Carlos Cova

Cinematographer | Colorist

Carlos Cova is a Venezuelan filmmaker, editor and post producer based in Barcelona, Spain. His films have screened at various festivals, including DocuWest International Film Festival, the Imperial War Museum Short Film festival and Chicago International Film Festival, where his short documentary film FRAGMENTS received an honorable mention. Carlos holds a degree in film production from the Universidad de Los Andes (Venezuela) and a MFA in Documentary Media from Northwestern University. Carlos has also been part of the post production team of several feature length films, both narrative and documentary, such as: Desde Allá (From Afar. Venezuela. Golden Lion at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival), Abacus: Small Enough To Jail (Best Documentary Feature Nominee at the Academy Awards), Raising Bertie, Minding The Gap.

Justin Reifert

Producer | Cinematographer

Justin Reifert is a filmmaker, producer, and educator. He received BAs in International Relations and Russian Language from Michigan State University and a graduate certificate in Documentary Filmmaking from The Documentary Institute at George Washington University. At GW, he co-produced the documentary short Leaving Sharpe, which was selected for the DC Independent Film Festival and the Annapolis Film Festival. The film also won a CINE Golden Eagle Award. He received an MFA in Documentary Media from Northwestern University and served as Assistant Professor in Residence at Northwestern University in Qatar. This fall, he will join the faculty of Oakland University in Rochester, MI as Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies.


Collin Susich

Post-Production Sound | Cinematographer | Co-Producer

Collin Susich is an award winning audio engineer and musician specializing in post production sound. Collin’s interest in film has lead him to work on genres ranging from fiction, experimental video art to feature length documentaries. In addition to working in post, he is an accomplished sound recordist. Collin has been a musician for 16 years and this experience has greatly informed his approach to capturing quality sound. He believes that sound is just as crucial as imagery and always strives to create an evocative sound design to bring the audience into the world of the film. Collin is a graduate of the Audio Engineering and Recording program at Indigital Institute of Recording Arts and is currently persuing his BA in Music Education.


News & Updates

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Mary Lane's Debut

Appointment With The Blues is Mary Lane’s debut CD. The album was launched in 1997 when Mary Lane was 62-years-old.


Women of the Lens Film Festival - London, UK - December 15th

Cincinnati Film Society’s RiverReel Film Festival - Cincinnati, OH - November 14th

Doc’ N Roll Film Festival - London, UK - November 8th - International Premiere

Queen City Film Festival - Cumberland, MD - October 7th

Santa Cruz Film Festival - Santa Cruz, CA - October 7th

Winner of the Director’s Artistic Merit Award at the 2018 Santa Cruz Film Festival

OnScreen Local Film Showcase - Chicago, IL - August 26th – September 1st

Mosaic World Film Festival - Rockford, IL - August 26th

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