Little White Lie

When Lacey Schwartz discovers that the man she's always assumed was her father is not her biological parent, she unlocks a family secret.

Film Signature Image
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
March 23, 2015
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
Diversity Development Fund

Lacey Schwartz

Lacey Schwartz Delgado is an award-winning producer/writer/director/outreach strategist who draws on her interdisciplinary background to create compelling stories that span documentary and fiction. She directed, produced, and co-wrote the critically acclaimed documentary feature LITTLE WHITE LIE and produced the feature narrative DIFRET Show more which won the Audience Awards at Sundance and Berlin International Film Festival. She also directed and produced the viral digital series "The Loving Generation" on Lacey is an alum of many film and community programs including the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute and American Film Showcase. Show less

Other ITVS Films
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Mehret Mandefro

Mehret Mandefro is an award-winning director/producer/writer and co-founder of Truth Aid Media. Her feature films DIFRET and LITTLE WHITE LIE won the Audience Awards at Sundance and Berlin and screened at more than 30 festivals around the world, including theatrical releases in over 35 territories and top-rated broadcasts on PBS and Netflix. She Show more recently executive produced the feature film SWEETNESS IN THE BELLY which had a World Premiere at the 2019 Toronto Film Festival. Show less

Other ITVS Films
How it Feels to Be Free

James Adolphus

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The Film

Little White Lie tells Lacey Schwartz's story of growing up in a typical upper-middle-class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with loving parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity — despite the open questions from those around her about how a white girl could have such dark skin. She believes her family's explanation that her looks were inherited from her dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather. But when her parents abruptly split, her gut starts to tell her something different.

At age of 18, she finally confronts her mother and learns the truth: her biological father was not the man who raised her, but a black man named Rodney with whom her mother had had an affair. Afraid of losing her relationship with her parents, Lacey doesn't openly acknowledge her newly discovered black identity with her white family. When her biological father dies shortly before Lacey's 30th birthday, the family secret can stay hidden no longer. Following the funeral, Lacey begins a quest to reconcile the hidden pieces of her life and heal her relationship with the only father she ever knew.

What defines our identity, our family of origin or the family that raises us? How do we come to terms with the sins and mistakes of our parents? Lacey discovers that answering those questions means understanding her parents' own stories as well as her own. She pieces together her family history and the story of her dual identity using home videos, archival footage, interviews, and episodes from her own life. Little White Lie is a personal documentary about the legacy of family secrets, denial, and redemption.