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All posts by Craig Phillips

Craig is ITVS/Independent Lens Interactive Editor, based in San Francisco. He is a film nerd, cartoonist, wannabe screenwriter and owner of/owned by cats.

Balancing Along the Thin Blue Line, Filmmaker Captures Police Force at an Explosive Time

A follow-up to his acclaimed, Independent Spirit Truer than Fiction Award-winning film The Waiting Room (Independent Lens, 2013), Pete Nicks’ The Force is part of a trilogy of films he’s making which are ostensibly about Oakland, where he’s based, but in a much larger sense are also about wholly American institutions — a hospital emergency room (and … READ MORE

How “I Am Not Your Negro” Filmmaker Reopened James Baldwin’s “House”

The worldly Haitian-born filmmaker Raoul Peck and his family fled the Duvalier dictatorship in 1961 and found asylum in the Democratic Republic of Congo, before Peck finished his schooling in the United States, France, and Germany. Currently living in both France and the U.S., Peck has been given numerous Human Rights Watch awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in … READ MORE

Filmmaker with M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Investigates Her Own Medical Mystery in Unrest

To say filmmaker Jen Brea has made the most of her challenging situation would be a vast understatement. Burdened with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), she produced her film Unrest (premiering on Independent Lens Jan. 8 at 10 pm; check local listings) for the most part literally from her bed, yet managed to include people from … READ MORE

Muscle Shoals’ Rick Hall Passes Away

Sad news to report, that Rick Hall, the star of the Independent Lens film Muscle Shoals, has died at the age of 85 after a long illness. The Fame Studios founder, who is credited with launching the career of such music icons as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and others, published and recorded numerous R&B, pop and … READ MORE

From North Carolina to San Francisco: Jennifer Kroot Tells the Tales of Maupin

Jennifer Kroot brings a background in underground filmmaking to her documentaries and uses that sensibility to create surprises within her stories. The San Francisco-based filmmaker first caught the eye of writer Armistead Maupin when he saw her documentary To Be Takei, about actor and activist George Takei, and, as Maupin said affectionately and humorously in … READ MORE

Jessie Auritt Explores the World of an Unorthodox Girl in Orthodox World

“Showcasing a normal girl doing extraordinary things, Supergirl is a health tonic for this cramping climate of resurgent sexism underway where girls everywhere are struggling to understand their worth,” wrote Lora Grillo in The Playlist. The documentary Supergirl, which premieres on Independent Lens on PBS December 18 at 10 pm [check local listings], explores the … READ MORE

Meet Your Guides to the Shady Global Arms Trade of Shadow World

Shadow World is in many senses an epic film, that (as Ian McQuaid wrote in The Ransom Note) “draws together a sordid tale of corruption, violence, and greed that sprawls across decades and continents… the documentary covers the full, hideous spectrum of half a century of arms manufacturing.” The “superbly edited, angry documentary about the global arms trade” … READ MORE

Filmmaker John Scheinfeld Chases Coltrane’s Legacy

Filmmaker John Scheinfeld is no stranger to taking on challenging subjects for documentaries. The Emmy®, Grammy® and Writers Guild Award nominee and writer/director/producer’s other films include The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him), We Believe, and Dick Cavett’s Watergate. But something about the story of legendary jazz … READ MORE

Independent Lens Wins Four 2017 News and Documentary Emmys

Last night, the 38th annual News and Documentary Emmy® Awards were held at the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City, and Independent Lens was thrilled to learn four of our films took home the Emmy® statuette. Congratulations to the winning films: In Football We Trust, Best of Enemies, The Armor … READ MORE

2016-17 Independent Lens Audience Award Poll! The Winner Is…

It’s time to vote for your own personal favorite from the just-concluded 2016-2017 season of Independent Lens. The voting period will run through 5 pm PT Friday, July 21. There were 20 films in this season that lasted from October through July, so we know it’s tough to choose, but if you could pick just one … READ MORE