Nyon, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – Rock legend Lou Reed presented his film debut at Nyon’s Vision du Réel film festival 20 April. The film, Red Shirley, a 30-minute documentary about his 99-year-old cousin Shirley Novick, is the musician’s first attempt at directing. “I did this film as she’s one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met and I wanted to preserve her forever so that others could meet her – she’s so inspiring”, says Reed. He finished the film earlier this year with filmmaker Ralph Gibson.
Novick left Poland at 19 in 1938 for Montreal to learn French, but ended up learning how to play the mandolin. Then she left for New York and found work as a seamstress. Working 48 hours a week for a wage of $6, she spent 47 years as a seamstress. She was a militant for better working conditions and represented her colleagues in the garment industry, thus earning her the nickname Red Shirley.