Private Project


The world as we know it is changing. What is holding us together is love...
Love is a word we all use, but rarely stop and try to define. ‘What Is Love?’ asks this question of people from all walks of life, ages, sexualities and cultures. Everyone brings unique stories of love: love lost, love won – perspectives both personal and universal. They speak from the depths of years of experience, from the freshness of youth, from the battlegrounds and successes of love.

The ninety interviewees had no idea of the questions in advance. They graced us with their innermost feelings and thoughts: actors, writers, artists, musicians, spiritual teachers, the woman who overturned DOMA, astrologers, politicians, therapists, farmers, entrepreneurs, yogis, chefs and surfers and so many more, including Alec Baldwin, Lynda LaPlante, Rodney Yee, Edie Windsor, Mercedes Ruehl, John Mankiewicz and Ron Guttman.

‘What Is Love?’ offers something for all of us to relate to, to question, to discuss, to pass on. Moments that touch the very essence of our souls with humor, pathos, vulnerability, joy and occasional stunned silence.

  • Jane Martin
  • Jane Martin
  • Nate Best, Don Lenzer, Jane Martin
  • Jane Martin & Alex(andra) Mankiewicz
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    34 minutes 54 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 6, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    22,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Hamptons Doc Fest
    Sag Harbor
    United States
    December 9, 2019
    Hamptons Doc Fest
  • Byron Bay Film Festival
    Byron Bay
    October 11, 2020
    Australian Premiere
Director Biography - Jane Martin

JANE MARTIN, Director and Co-Editor, is an award-winning film director and multi-media artist. After film studies at New York University, she worked extensively in the film and television industry in New York and Paris. This included various roles as director, cinematographer, editor and production manager with notables such as Al Pacino, Donald Sutherland, Steven Spielberg and Gregory Colbert. Her first documentary ‘Silent Sentries.' an ode to New York City, was broadcast primetime on four PBS stations nationally, including numerous times on PBS Channel 13 New York City. It also premièred at festivals in France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Portugal and the United States.

Martin has made her home in East Hampton, New York for the last 15 years. She began production in 2014 on her second documentary ‘What Is Love?’. In 2015 Alex(andra) Mankiewicz, of the Mankiewicz filmmaking family, came on board as Co-Editor. They have worked on expanding 'What Is Love?' into an in-depth series.

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Director Statement

Welcome to a meditation on love. Veering from documentary norms, 'What Is Love?' is a short film with almost ninety characters. None of the interviewees are identified although you will recognize some – and no one knew the questions in advance. Drawn from a broad demographic the characters can be seen as landscapes, each with their own eccentricities and appeal. Humorous, touching, searching, surprising… their answers weave an intricate thread through our human experience.

No point of view is taken but rather the exchange of differing perspectives urges us to define what we believe about this age-old question that is rarely, if ever, asked. 'What is Love?' begins a dialogue that begs to be continued.