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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.

Filmmaker Explores First Steps Toward Justice and Reconciliation

Independent filmmaker Jacqueline Olive, who has worked in non-fiction filmmaking for years and co-directed and co-produced the award-winning hour-long documentary, Black to Our Roots (PBS WORLD), makes her feature documentary directing debut with the searing Always in Season, which was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Moral Urgency at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.    A … READ MORE

Religion, Science and Belief: Unearthing the Thorny Intersection

Filmmakers Monica Long Ross and Clayton Brown have long been fascinated by how science and culture mix–or don’t mix–in America. In short, that relationship is complicated.  They directed and produced the award-winning documentaries The Atom Smashers (which aired on Independent Lens), which was about the search for the Higgs boson particle, and The Believers, the … READ MORE

How “Cooked” Evolved into an Investigation of the Disaster Underlying a Disaster

Documentary filmmaker Judith Helfand is best known for her ability to take the dark worlds of chemical exposure, heedless corporate behavior and environmental injustice and make them personal, highly-charged and entertaining. Her films include The Uprising of ‘34, the Sundance award-winning and 2x Emmy-nominated Blue Vinyl (about the health hazards of vinyl), its Peabody Award-winning prequel A Healthy … READ MORE

From Race Riots to Rainbow Coalitions and Heatwaves: Chicago Activism on Racial and Economic Justice

It would be foolhardy to try to succinctly sum up the political history of one of America’s most historically politically complicated cities–Chicago–in one sweeping post. Rather, consider this a basic primer of touchstones that connect some key dots, with recommendations for ways to learn more, as you think about the histories presented in two essentially … READ MORE

Filmmaker Accepts the Call to Tell Story of a Father and Son Divided

Filmmaker Eunice Lau, who is originally from Singapore (and boy does she have a story to tell you here about the experience of showing her film back home), was once a journalist at Al Jazeera Network. She has a penchant for telling stories concerning social justice, from dowry-killing in Bangladesh to uncovering corruption in Sarawak … READ MORE

Still Mushing: An Update from Joe, George Attla’s Grandnephew

We are pleased that we could get Joe Bifelt, the grandnephew of legendary dogsled racer George Attla, to send us an update on his life since the film about George’s life, ATTLA, ended. George may have technically been Joe’s great uncle but as you’ll see here he considers George another grandfather, and despite George’s passing, … READ MORE

Telling the Incredible True Story of a Dogsledding Legend

Filmmaker Catharine Axley seeks stories of empowerment through subjects that defy expectations, and the lesser-known but remarkable story of George Attla certainly qualifies. Axley’s film ATTLA, which won Best Feature Documentary at the American Indian Film Festival, looks at the charismatic Alaska Native dogsled racer who, with one good leg and fierce determination, became a legendary sports hero … READ MORE

In Opulent Hamptons Filmmaker Asks, Whose Land Is it Anyway?

Treva Wurmfeld was named one Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film a few years back and made her mark first with her festival award-winning film Shepard and Dark about iconic American playwright Sam Shepard’s lifelong friendship with reclusive writer and archivist Johnny Dark. She’s worked on films with Hollywood director Doug Liman and studied … READ MORE

Following the Journey of Interpreters We Left Behind

Filmmakers Andrés Caballero and Sofian Khan‘s previous feature-length collaboration Gaucho del Norte, which made its broadcast premiere on public television’s America ReFramed series, followed the journey of a Patagonian immigrant sheepherder recruited to work in the American West. With The Interpreters, the duo took a different journey to capture a riskier immigration experience, the story of how Afghan and Iraqi … READ MORE

Decade of Fire Filmmakers Change the Narrative About the South Bronx

The three-headed team as it were, of co-directors Vivian Vázquez Irizarry and Gretchen Hildebran, and producer Julia Steele Allen, each brought something different and special to the table in the making of the film Decade of Fire, which tells the shocking but untold piece of American urban history, when the South Bronx was on fire … READ MORE