"So watch me be the artist who was born ready-made/ Watch me take my lemons, and make the best goddamn lemonade."
Lemon Andersen’s County of Kings
Three-time felon turned poet/performer Lemon Andersen fights for an exit from generations of poverty by bringing his life’s secrets to the NY stage. But revisiting his troubled past has more in store than he bargained for, as he is confronted by his demons time and time again. Yet Lemon – raised by a drug dealer and a car thief - was born to hustle and survive, so when Spike Lee steps in to produce his show, it seems Lemon might finally find the redemption he so desperately seeks.
LEMON unfolds with the intimacy of verite filmmaking, the intensity of a morality tale, and the power of a cliffhanger. At its core is a single character whose honesty both on stage and off lends the film a rare kind of truth. In its resonance, the film speaks poignantly for those living on the margins, battling cyclical poverty and the lure of drugs, and trying to improve their lot in life. Lemon is a man whose talent is anything but “normal,” but whose dreams are of every man with a history of hardship and the desire for something more for himself and his family.
Learn more about LEMON and connect with the film:
See the Film
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Laura Brownson Director/Producer
Based in Los Angeles, Brownson began her career at Michael Douglas’s Paramount based Douglas/Reuther Productions where she helped oversee films by acclaimed directors Sydney Pollack, John Woo and Francis Ford Coppola. Venturing on her own, she produced the award-winning short film WONDERLAND for first time director Jeffrey Blitz. And in 1998, she partnered with director Anthony Drazan to help adapt the theatrical play HURLY BURLY for the screen. Turning her focus to television, she worked for years as a creative producer developing countless projects for HBO/Showtime/Lifetime and producing two films for CBS. She is currently developing THE BROTHER OF THE PILOT with Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Richard Friedenberg.
Beth Levison Director/Producer
Based in New York City, Levison has been producing arts-related television for the last decade and has been the recipient of two Emmy Awards (HBO’s CLASSICAL BABY & GOODNIGHT MOON AND OTHER SLEEPYTIME TALES), three George Foster Peabody Awards (PBS’ EGG THE ARTS SHOW), and numerous other television and broadcast awards. In addition to PBS and HBO, she has worked for the Sundance Channel, National Geographic Television, ABC News, NBC, and MTV.
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Festivals & Awards
DOC NYC 2011
Special Jury Prize
Heartland Film Festival
Nantucket Film Festival
Documentary Edge Festival
Edmonton International Film Festival 2012
“If you only go to see one film, see Lemon. If you think art can transform a life, go see Lemon. If you think art can't transform a life, go see Lemon…it's a not to be missed movie.”
“A portrait of a man clinging desperately to his dream…a talented person hoping to get the one big break that will vault him out of society's lower rungs.”
-New York Daily News
"Watch me be the artist that was born ready made. Watch me take my lemons and make the best goddamn lemonade."
In the documentary LEMON, we witness poet Lemon Andersen's struggles and triumphs as he uses the power of his voice to pull himself and his family out of poverty. He turns his three felonies and brutal past into fodder for creative endeavor, successfully turning his lemons into lemonade. While his complex story does not offer simple answers, it does open up opportunities for young people and other marginalized voices to explore and discuss personal and societal challenges, and move from a place of frustration to action.
In fact, groups around the country are coming together to use the award-winning documentary as a way to spark dialogue about ways to turn life's challenges into opportunities. Bring together your friends, classmates and peers to watch the film and have an action-oriented discussion with the help of the materials below.
Download the LEMON discussion guide
Find a local organization that can help you explore poetry and other creative ways to get your voice out there.
Voto Latino is a pioneering civic media organization that seeks to transform America by recognizing Latinos’ innate leadership.
The Beat WIthin
The Beat Within’s mission is to provide incarcerated youth with consistent opportunity to share their ideas and life experiences in a safe space that encourages literacy, self-expression, some critical thinking skills, and healthy, supportive relationships with adults and their community. Outside of the juvenile justice system, The Beat Within partners with community organizations and individuals to bring resources to youth both inside and outside of detention. We are committed to being an effective bridge between youth who are locked up and the community that aims to support their progress towards a healthy, non-violent, and productive life.