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Boston filmmakers win Peabody Award for Lorraine Hansberry documentary

Tracy Heather Strain and Randall MacLowry have won a Peabody Award for their documentary, “<b>Lorraine Hansberry</b>: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart.”
Tracy Heather Strain and Randall MacLowry have won a Peabody Award for their documentary, “<b>Lorraine Hansberry</b>: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart.”(Courtesy of Eric Levin)

When Boston filmmakers Tracy Heather Strain and Randall MacLowry were making “Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart,” they weren’t expecting to receive a Peabody Award for documentary work.

“We were really, really excited,” said Strain, who also just received an NAACP award for her directorial work. “We work in Midway Studios, in this small place [that’s] quiet and unknown to most people. And then to suddenly get this huge award was just exciting and we feel really honored.”

The film follows Hansberry’s life and work, both as an artist (she was the playwright behind “A Raisin in the Sun”) and an activist. Strain and MacLowry, who are husband and wife, decided to do the documentary, which has been 14 years in the making, to highlight all facets of Hansberry’s life.

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“[T]o have this film get that recognition, because … beyond the fact that you spend so many years working on it and bringing this vision to fruition, we think it’s such an important story and are glad that it’s getting that recognition and appreciation,” MacLowry said.

In 1959, Hansberry was the first African-American woman to have a play produced on Broadway; she went on to win the New York Critics’ Circle award at just 29.

“A Dangerous Son,” “Independent Lens: Delores,” “Independent Lens: The Judge,” “Minding the Gap,” “POV: The Apology,” “The Facebook Dilemma,” and “The Jazz Ambassadors” are among the other winning documentaries.

Additional Peabody honorees also include television shows “The Americans,” “Killing Eve,” “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj,” “Pose.” Actress Rita Moreno was honored for career achievement, Journalist Ronan Farrow will host the Peabody Awards ceremony on May 18.


Lillian Brown can be reached at lillian.brown@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lilliangbrown.