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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.

Shoes Wisely: Stacey Tenenbaum Shines a Light on an Age-Old Profession

Award-winning filmmaker Stacey Tenenbaum co-created a critically acclaimed series in Canada, The Beat, which followed a team of beat police officers patrolling the streets of Downtown Vancouver. Exchanging the police beat for shiny feet for her new film, Tenenbaum’s The Art of the Shine [premiering on Independent Lens Monday, April 9; check local listings], travels from New York City … READ MORE

The Art of the Sneaker

One of the many quiet revelations for me in the documentary The Art of the Shine is that despite being in what seems like a casual and disposable culture, many people these days actually still take great pains to care for their shoes, including partaking in the ancient art of shoe shining. Whether brown leather … READ MORE

Peter Bratt Feels the Calling to Tell Dolores Huerta’s Story

Filmmaker Peter Bratt‘s first feature Follow Me Home, a San Francisco International Film Festival Audience Award winner, was produced with his brother Benjamin Bratt, which they followed with the heartfelt indie film La Mission, shot on location in their hometown of San Francisco,  “an honest attempt to portray the destructiveness of violence in the Latino community” (Hollywood Reporter). … READ MORE

Filmmaker Theo Anthony’s Ratty Exploration of Urban Segregation

In the New York Times critics’ pick review of Theo Anthony’s Rat Film, Jeannette Catsoulis wrote: “Equal parts disturbing and humorous, informative and bizarre, Rat Film is a brilliantly imaginative and formally experimental essay on how Baltimore has dealt with its rat problem and manipulated its black population.” She continues, “Anthony shines as much light on racist urban … READ MORE

10 Questions with “Rat Film” Composer Dan Deacon: On Baltimore, Rats, Player Pianos and Theremins

Baltimore-based composer/musician Dan Deacon did the music for Theo Anthony’s Rat Film. The film, which uses the urban rat as a way to explore a deeper story of urbanization and segregation, is a unique blend of history, science and sci-fi, poetry and portraiture. And Deacon’s music, also a unique blend of styles, genres and instruments … READ MORE

HBCU Grads Share Their Stories of Campus Life

Graduates of Historic Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are proud alums, and in connection with the Independent Lens film Tell Them We Are Rising, which tells the 170 years—and rising—history of HBCUs, we found a few who were happy to tell their own stories of life on an HBCU campus. These are just a sampling of … READ MORE

Filmmakers Marco Williams and Stanley Nelson Tell an Essential Chapter of American History in Story of HBCUs

Tell Them We Are Rising, which premieres on Independent Lens on PBS Monday, February 19 at 9 pm [check local listings], covers the rich history of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) from before the end of slavery through a flourishing in the 20th century to today, and how they profoundly influenced the course of … READ MORE

How a Chinese Filmmaker Ended up in Florida with a Drifter from Utah

Nanfu Wang was a student at NYU when she went exploring America, which found her in Florida staying at a hostel. There she encountered a young drifter named Dylan, whom she found fascinating enough to start filming, capturing his experiences living on the streets while she stayed right there with him. But then she went … READ MORE

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