Little White Lie

Little White Lie

About the Film

Filmmaker Lacey Schwartz grew up in a typical upper middle class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with loving parents and a strong sense of her identity, despite occasional remarks from those around her who wondered how a white girl could have such dark skin. As a child she believed her family’s explanation — that her appearance was inherited from her dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather — but when she reaches her adolescence, and her parents abruptly separate, her gut begins to tell her something else. MORE

Lacey’s suspicions intensify when she attends a more diverse high school, where she suddenly doesn’t quite fit any racial profile, and her classmates are vocal about noting it. At the urging of her boyfriend, who is of mixed race, she begins to question her true identity and the validity of her parents’ explanation. At 18, Lacey finally confronts her mother and learns the truth about her biological father.

As Little White Lie shows, both the bonds and the lies told between family members can run deep. Lacey strives to reconcile her newfound African American heritage with her Jewish upbringing, and discovers that in order to define herself, she must first come to terms with her parents’ choices and how much she is willing to let their past affect her future.

Piecing together her family history and the story of her dual identity using home videos, archival footage, interviews, and episodes from her own life, Lacey discovers that answering those questions means understanding her parents’ stories as well as her own.


The Filmmaker

Lacey Schwartz, Producer/Director

Headshot of Little White Lie filmmaker Lacey Schwartz.Lacey Schwartz is the CEO of the production and outreach organization Truth Aid. She has over a decade of experience in the nonprofit and media sector working with a variety of production companies, networks, and organizations including MTV, BET,, Be’chol Lashon/Institute for Jewish Community and Research, and NASCAR. Little White Lie is her first film as a director. She also executive produced the narrative film Difret, which won audience awards at the 2014 Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals. Prior to her media career, Schwartz was a professional DJ and public high school math and theater teacher. She has a BA from Georgetown University, a JD from Harvard Law School, and is a member of the New York State Bar. She speaks widely on issues of diversity and the use of media to spark dialogue around important social issues, giving people tools that lead to personal evolution and social change. LESS

Film Credits

A Film by
Lacey Schwartz

Producer and Co-Writer
Mehret Mandefro

Toby Shimin
Erik Dugger

Co-Director and Director of Photography
James Adolphus

Music by
Kathryn Bostic

Animator and Motion Graphics Designer
Bran Dougherty-Johnson

Senior Creative Advisors
Michelle Ferrari

Creative Advisors
Sam Pollard
Marco Williams

Lisa Cleff-Kurtz
Jamund Washington

Associate Producers
Collier Meyerson
James Smith

Production Coordinator
Ellie Lotan

Production Assistants
Molly Abrams
Mallory Kotik

Assistant Editors
Chelsea Harmon
Jack Placidi

Additional Editing by
Alison Shurman

Additional Camera
Joel Fendelman
Eitan Riklis
Derek Rittenhouse
Lacey Schwartz
Marco Williams

Additional Sound
Oki Harris
Matthew Magratten
Sasha Santiago
James Smith

Maryssa Antillion
Taryn Ariel
Lila Dobbs
Issac Giovannetti
Chris Iversen
Laura Jacobson
Amanda Masaikos
Devin Mead-Ward
Sophia Ortega
Gus Spelman

Post-Production Interns
Dov Alpert
Suzette Burton
David Berman
Brittany DeLillo
Alliah Fafin
Mary Grabenstatter
Jason Morrison
Eric Perez
Andrew Skean
Arthur Wybrands

Waranetta English
Mysescha Joell
Tristan Griffin
Aaron Loo
Tanya Meronk
Allison Moser
Tamara Nadolny
Tolu Oluwadiya
Benjamin Peters
Vic Reznik
Alexandra Rosenman
Rodney Sino-Cruz
Jonathan Walker
June Williams
Terrel Woods
Yvonne Yu

Production Services
Truth Aid

Production Assistance
Firelight Media

Post Production Services
Final Frame

Supervising Sound Editor and Re-recording Mixer
Jacob Ribicoff

Sound Mix Facility
Soundtrack Film and Television

Legal Support
Charles Glorioso
Alston Bird LLP
Shatzkin & Mayer, P.C.

Archival Material Courtesy of
Bruce Corwin
Kristen Parker
Peggy Schwartz
Robert Schwartz
Ben Selkow
Rick Telander
Bison Books Publishing
Getty Images
Kingston High School
National Archives
Random House Children’s Books

Additional Music
Produced by Mills
Courtesy of Michael Mills

“Feeling Good”
Written by Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley
Performed by Nina Simone
Courtesy of Verve Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises
Courtesy of TRO Musical Comedy Productions, Inc. (BMI)

Special Thanks
Becca Bender
Roger Bennett
Phil Bertelsen
Beverly Bond
Leland Chapin
Damaris Cozza
Antonio Delgado
Gail Dolgin
Dana Drappo
Sandi Dubowski
Lawrence Elman
Lewis Erskine
Emily Estadella
Penny Faulk
Firelight Media Labsters
Amy FooteFlavius Galiber
Sabrina Gordon
Mable Haddock
Carter Harris
Michael Hill
Karl Hollandt
Sarah Hsia
Kristi Jacobson
Sofia Kenzer
Emir Lewis
Jimmy Lynn
Deirdre Maloney
Peter Martin
Justin Mass
AIko Masubuchi
Khaliah Neal
Nancy Novack
Kristen Nutile
Tessa Pang
Kerry Rachlin
David Rappa
Brooke Richie
Roo Rogers
Zuhairah Scott
Beth Scott
Michael Skolnik
David Sutphen
Megan Twohey
Ashley Waters
David Wout
Maria Yenikonshian
Rodrigo Zuloaga

Fiscal Sponsor
Hartley Film Foundation

Executive Producer for ITVS
Sally Jo Fifer

Funding Provided by
Righteous Persons Foundation
Be’chol Lashon, A Project of the Institute for Jewish Community and Research
Andrea and Charles Bronfman Foundation
Foundation for Jewish Culture’s Lynn and Jules Kroll Fund for Jewish Documentary Film
Hartley Film Foundation
Alexander M. and June L. Maisin Foundation
Tribeca Film Institute
The Kurtz Family Foundation
And others. A complete list available from PBS.
Little White Lie is a co-production of OTB Productions LLC and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Little White Lie is produced by OTB Productions LLC which is solely responsible for its content.

© 2014 OTB Productions LLC, all rights reserved.

We define a little white lie as something you don't talk about. A little white lie can be about a hidden part of your identity, or a family secret plus denial. The truth can be hard to face especially when you don’t know what to do with it. What is your “little white lie” and what motivates you to confront it?
Please review our comment guidelines.
We define a little white lie as something you don't talk about. A little white lie can be about a hidden part of your identity, or a family secret plus denial. The truth can be hard to face especially when you don’t know what to do with it. What is your “little white lie” and what motivates you to confront it?