For more than a month, the true-crime HBO series I’ll Be Gone in the Dark had viewers intently following the tangled paths of a serial rapist and killer, his victims and those who investigated the crimes. Set in California and based on the book of the same name by the late Michelle McNamara, the six-part series also has a Martha’s Vineyard connection: It was directed by seasonal resident Liz Garbus, who was still finishing the project when the coronavirus pandemic shut down her New York studios in March. The series premiered in June.

“We had to take three or four edit rooms and make them remote, so we could fix and color correct and edit remotely,” Ms. Garbus said. “I wouldn’t say it’s been seamless, but it’s certainly very possible.”

Ms. Garbus has made a career of telling true stories. And the world has listened. Her roster of awards and distinctions includes multiple Emmy and Peabody awards and Oscar nominations since the late 1990s.

Ms. Garbus’s recent triumphs include four-part Showtime series The Fourth Estate, a gripping all-access pass to the New York Times newsrooms during the early Trump administration, and What Happened, Miss Simone?, a sensitive and powerful documentary about musician and activist Nina Simone that earned the director two Emmys, a Peabody and an Academy Award nomination.

Ms. Garbus also directed the acclaimed Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, Bobby Fischer Against the World and the Oscar-nominated The Farm: Angola, USA.

Filmmaker Liz Garbus — with son Theo and family dog Bowie — has been coming to the Vineyard since she was a child. — Jeanna Shepard

A lifelong love of narrative, likely enhanced by the fact that her father is an eloquent attorney—First Amendment expert Martin Garbus—and her mother a therapist, led Ms. Garbus toward filmmaking in her teens.

“Storytelling takes so many forms,” she said. “I loved creative writing. I was a kid who filled the journal up very quickly.”

When home video cameras became popular, she took to the new medium.

“I started shooting in school and doing in-camera editing (of) little documentaries and showing them to friends,” Ms. Garbus said. “I didn’t realize that was documentary filmmaking at that point—I was just messing around.”

Brown University offered her more opportunities to explore modes of storytelling—not only in film production, theory and criticism classes, but in the realms of history and semiotics, the study of signs and symbols.

“It teaches you to be an incredibly close and careful and reader and analyst of codes, which is very important in filmmaking,” Ms. Garbus said.

Her connection with the Vineyard goes back to family vacations in Chilmark when she was a child, attending day camp at the Chilmark Community Center. Later, she and her husband stayed here with friends before beginning their own summer rental tradition with their two teenage children.

“Every year we’ve rented for a little bit longer,” she said.

Now working from the Vineyard — in between family meals, trips to the beach and farmers’ market and other socially distanced summer activities — Ms. Garbus has a number of documentary projects in the pipeline. Two that have been announced, she said, are a National Geographic film about ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau and a voting rights documentary with Stacey Abrams. Titled All In: The Fight for Democracy, the film is being released by Amazon Prime Video but also has a theatrical release date of Sept. 9, according to Variety.

While the coronavirus has altered much of life’s normal landscape both on and off the Island, Ms. Garbus said she is encouraged by the social justice movement that has also taken hold in 2020.

“I’m heartened by the movement and by the diverse coalitions,” she said. “I hope that it keeps up … Solutions that once seemed radical are getting aired out and discussed in a mainstream manner.”