Making this film was a long journey for me. I first met members of Diane Hazzard’s family many years before I started filming. I was working as a volunteer at a homeless shelter where Diane’s brother Victor lived with her dead sister’s children whom he had adopted. I worked with the children living at the shelter. We did photography projects and made Super 8 films, some of which are used in Love & Diane. I spent time talking to the children living there and several times visited children I knew who had been taken from their parents and put into group homes. I began to see Diane’s nieces and nephew on weekends, taking them to places they didn’t know and introducing them to my friends. And they reciprocated, showing me aspects of life in the city I had never known about. I was stunned by what these young children had been faced with. They had survived circumstances that had often included weeks spent sleeping on the floors of emergency housing offices, and withstood constant, terrifying uncertainty about the future. I saw the strength of these children, the ways they fought for each other, kept their families together and often parented their younger brothers or sisters.
Over the years that I spent getting to know the children in the shelter, I thought more and more about how I could pass on what I was learning to other people. Watching the Super 8 films the children made helped me realize the power of film to convey the way the world feels from a particular point of view. I began to make a kind of home movie with the Hazzard children. As Victor became ill, the family began to split up and two of the children moved in with their Aunt Diane and her children. I went over to meet them and spoke to Diane and her daughter, Love. I was struck by their profound self-knowledge and intense desire to understand the past and escape from its power. I changed the focus of the film to concentrate on these two women. Diane, Love, and I had many conversations about the kind of film we all wanted to make. Diane and Love wanted above all to see and show others a truthful account of their lives. They felt that their voices were never heard in society; that they were seen as “statistics.” As we talked about making a documentary, however, none of us had any idea that it would take years to finish or that it would include a terrible repeating of past trauma. It is an extraordinary gift that Love and Diane remained committed to the process and to an uncompromising honesty with each other and with the audience. My greatest hope for this film is that viewers will honor that courage and will leave the film feeling a greater sense of understanding and empathy for Diane and Love themselves, certainly, but also for those many people in our society who struggle to escape devastating poverty and the weight of historic oppression.
— Jennifer Dworkin, Producer/Director, New York, NY 2004