Five Questions With... Lisa Cortés, producer of THE TALE OF FOUR

THE TALE OF FOUR is Oscar®-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe's (EmpirePrecious) directorial debut. We're proud to present this piece at our Afternoon Tea Talk on Sunday, June 25 at 2:15pm, followed by a lively, moderated conversation accompanied by tea and treats.

This multi-layered story inspired by Nina Simone’s “Four Women” spans one day in the lives of four different women connected by their quest for love, agency and redemption. Featuring Jussie Smollett (Empire) and Ledisi.

Sidibe’s directorial debut is part of Refinery29’s Shatterbox Anthology short film series, which works to cultivate and spotlight the voices of women behind the camera, in order to provide emerging female filmmakers with the support to realize their creative vision.

We spoke with producer Lisa Cortés about the film, and are also happy to present the first trailer, below. Take a look, and join us on Sunday!

NFF: Can you talk a little about how this project came to you? Why were you interested in this script?

Lisa: I've had the pleasure of knowing Gabby (Gabourey) since working with her as a Producer on "Precious". When she was putting together the team for The Tale of Four, she and her manager reached out and asked if I'd be interested in joining the team. Hello, where do I sign up? I love when personal and professional relationships come full circle. 

The story is timely and relevant to where we find ourselves right now. The script spoke to me because it compliments much of my work which has been committed to telling expansive stories about our Black bodies.  

NFF: The film asks a lot of questions about identity and how we define ourselves. Do you think self-image is something that can be shaped and changed, or is it more structured and set?

Lisa: Self-image can be fluid. The woman I am is different from the girl I was. The change happened because I did the work (which never stops) and met the right people along the way who supported my quest.  What's important is that we create mirrors in our work that provide vistas and portals to possibility and change.

NFF: Why is this film important right now?

Lisa: The characters in the film were inspired by the women that Nina Simone sang about in 1966 in her iconic song, "Four Women".  Some of the challenging situations and microaggressions that these sisters undergo are still a part of our everyday experiences as Black women. If it's true that "the more things change, the more they stay the same",  I hope that their are lessons for empowerment and self love to be found within our film.

NFF: What surprised or challenged you the most while you were making the film?

Lisa: I have tremendous respect for Gabby and was delighted to see that all the ideals she upholds and represents are a part of her directing style.  We had a set filled with committed, smart and passionate people. Yes, there were challenges but along with the other producers - Refinery29 (Amy Emmerich, Shannon Gibson and Kate Bolger) and Kia Perry we always built upon our community to find solutions.

NFF: Why are you excited to show the film in Nantucket, and/or what do you hope Nantucket audiences will take away?

Lisa: I am so looking forward to premiering our film at Nantucket. The strong direction and rich programming of the festival promises to provide a forum for thoughtful exchanges about film and its ability to create empathy and fuel change.

Producer Lisa Cortés

Producer Lisa Cortés