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All posts by Craig Phillips

Craig is the digital content producer for Independent Lens, based in San Francisco. He is a film nerd, cartoonist, classic film poster collector, wannabe screenwriter, and owner of/owned by cats.

Which “Tales of the City” Character Are You?

It’s been 41 years since Armistead Maupin’s first Tales of the City book was published, 26 years since the initial PBS series based on that book aired, and now with a new incarnation premiering on Netflix, we thought it would be fun to return to the core of the books and find out: what Tales character are you? READ MORE

Filmmakers Capture Young Men Wrestling to Succeed and Be Seen

The story of four members of the high school wrestling team at Huntsville’s J.O. Johnson High School–a longstanding entry on Alabama’s list of failing schools–and their tough-love coach coming to terms with his own past, Wrestle is “superb,” wrote Kenneth Turan in the LA Times. “Just as sports mirror society, so do the best sports films not only take us inside games and those who play them but also provide insight into our world and how it works.” He rightly adds, “One reason Wrestle is so effective is that [the directors] and cinematographer Sinisa Kukic made the decision to move to Huntsville for the duration of the shoot. What resulted was not only 650 hours of footage but the benefit of countless additional time spent just hanging out with the protagonists.”

Herbert and co-director Belfer spoke to us about how they came to make this film and that decision to move to Alabama for a long while, as well as how the kids are doing today.  READ MORE

Bernardo Ruiz Tells Story of the Central Role Latinos Play in California Wine Industry

Two-time Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz, who was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and grew up in Brooklyn, made his directorial feature debut with the PBS film Reportero, about attacks on the press in Mexico, which New York Magazine called “a powerful reminder of how journalism often requires immense amounts of physical and psychological bravery.” He’s followed that up with … READ MORE

Filmmaker Follows Incarcerated Native Hawaiians Discovering Their Indigenous Traditions

Native Hawaiian filmmaker Ciara Lacy has had her work aired on PBS, ABC, TLC, Discovery, Bravo and A&E, and was an inaugural Sundance Institute Merata Mita Fellow for Indigenous Artists. A graduate of Yale and Hawai’i’s Kamehameha Schools, Lacy’s first documentary short, shot for the Guardian Online, chronicled a unique homeless encampment in Hawai’i and yielded over … READ MORE

Filmmaker Spotlights Unsung Neighbors Lifting Up Baltimore

Marilyn Ness is a two-time Emmy, Peabody, and DuPont Award-winning filmmaker, who has produced films like the acclaimed Cameraperson (dir. Kirsten Johnson), which was released by the Criterion Collection and shortlisted for an Oscar; Trapped (dir. Dawn Porter; Independent Lens), which won a Peabody; and the Independent Lens film 1971, which was nominated for an Emmy. … READ MORE

Independent Lens Wins Two 2018 Peabody Awards

Independent Lens is proud to announce that two of the series’ films —Dolores and The Judge — have won 2018 Peabody Awards in the Documentary category. The oldest and most prestigious award for electronic media, honoring the “most powerful, enlightening and invigorating stories in television, radio and digital media,” the Peabody Awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, … READ MORE

Acclaimed Filmmaker David Sutherland Tells the Story of a Family Torn Apart by Deportation

David Sutherland takes his time to tell a story, both in the years he spends with his subject, the amount of footage he shoots, and the ultimate running time — which always feels earned.  His film Country Boys took seven years to bring to fruition as Sutherland returned again and again to the hills of Appalachian … READ MORE

How a Lifelong Fascination with Medicine Turned into a Film About the Rural Healthcare Crisis

[UPDATED April 6, 2019: We reached out to filmmakers Laura Green and Anna Moot-Levin to gather their thoughts on why they titled their film The Providers.] The filmmaking team behind the Independent Lens documentary The Providers live on opposite coasts from each other — Laura Green in San Francisco, Anna Moot-Levin in Brooklyn — but they came … READ MORE

Director Explores Live Streaming Revolution and How Technology Affects Human Happiness

Technology executive-turned-filmmaker Hao Wu takes a raw and human approach to storytelling in an era when culture evolves online, and for his very first feature film, People’s Republic of Desire Wu won a SXSW Film Festival Grand Jury Prize–pretty impressive for a self-taught filmmaker. He expertly tells a real-life Black Mirror-esque tale that is, wrote … READ MORE

RaMell Ross Charts “the Visual Story of Blackness” in Oscar-Nominated Doc

Just one year after RaMell Ross’ Hale County This Morning, This Evening won a Special Jury Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, the filmmaker will follow his film’s television debut on PBS by awaiting the Academy Awards, where it is one of five finalists for Best Documentary Feature. Quite a journey for the photographer-teacher-turned-filmmaker, for … READ MORE

Five Questions About Fred Rogers with Morgan Neville

“When I met Joanne Rogers, I told her I wanted to make a film not about Fred Rogers’ story but about his ideas,” filmmaker Morgan Neville wrote about Won’t You Be My Neighbor? “She smiled and said that sounded pretty good, because Fred had always said his own story was the most boring story of all … READ MORE