The story of a muckraking investigative journalist who changed the game for women in reporting before women even had the right to vote.

Elizabeth Cochran, who wrote under the pen name Nellie Bly, was one of the best-known female journalists of the Victorian era. She gained instant fame for her exposé of poor conditions at a mental asylum, which she uncovered by feigning insanity and having herself committed. She later captured the attention of the country with her solo whirlwind race around the world to try to beat the 80-day record set in Jules Verne’s novel.

Director Penny Lane draws from extensive primary sources, including Bly’s own writing, presenting both real-world interviewees and reenactments in several styles of animation and illustration.

This short film examines the porous line between reporting facts and telling stories, while creating a dynamic portrait of a woman who refused to accept the status quo.

This documentary was funded by a grant from Glassbreaker Films and the Helen Gurley Brown Foundation. The film will air as a part of Reveal TV on public television stations across the country. Check your local listings here.

More films in this series

Freedom Fighters

Three brave women are speaking out against inequality and pushing for equal rights in Pakistan.

The Terrorist Hunter

Rita Katz is credited with uncovering key information about al-Qaida and ISIS, but some say she is too eager to find terrorist plots where none exist.