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TOPIC: Health & Environment

11 Questions for 3 Filmmakers About a Million Swamp Rats

The trio of filmmakers behind the Independent Lens film Rodents of Unusual Size — Jeff Springer, Chris Metzler and Quinn Costello — have previously captured unique environmental stories with a very human element to them, as Jeff and Chris made the award-winning cult favorite Plagues and Pleasures of the Salton Sea (since Jeff was born in … READ MORE

Invasive Species Turned into Sustainable Delicacies

by Claralyse Palmer Vegetarianism has become synonymous with environmentalism, the idea being that going meat-free saves not just animals but the planet (which certainly has some truth to it, especially when it comes to cattle). But the Independent Lens film Rodents of Unusual Size presents sustainable eating as something more nuanced than total renunciation of … READ MORE

Director Duo Show No Easy Answers in Fight Over Land

The team behind the new Independent Lens film My Country No More, Rita Baghdadi and Jeremiah Hammerling, told us they were drawn to Hammerling’s native North Dakota to make this film “because his hometown, as well as much of rural America, was changing rapidly and we wanted to document those changes. And we also wanted to explore the importance … READ MORE

The Toll: Wildland Firefighters Share Stories from the Job

Fallen firefighter Robert E. Caldwell, a Granite Mountain hotshot who perished in the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona, said to a comrade, “I’d rather die in my boots than live in a suit.” It would seem one would have to have that mentality to purposely choose such a dangerous vocation. It is a calling, but … READ MORE

Filmmakers Turned Firefighters Venture Behind the Lines in “Wildland”

Filmmaker Alex Jablonski and his filmmaking partner Khalil Hudson had quite the arduous, smoke-filled journey to make the film Wildland. The documentary premieres on Independent Lens Monday, Oct. 29. Alex told us that Wildland started with a question: How do young men grow up? “We always wanted to tell a story about wildland firefighters but it was … READ MORE

Overturning Expectations Alongside the Women Warriors of Ms. Veteran America

Long a successful film producer, Lysa Heslov, along with her husband, Oscar-winning producer/writer/director Grant Heslov, founded Children Mending Hearts ten years ago, a non-profit dedicated to empowering disadvantaged youth in the U.S. through educational and humanities programs that build empathy and global citizenry. She’s produced cult indie films like Attention Shoppers, Bug, and Hank Azaria’s … READ MORE

Laura Dunn Draws From Wendell Berry for Look at Rural America

Laura Dunn’s first feature documentary, The Unforeseen, executive produced by Robert Redford and Terrence Malick, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, aired on the Sundance Channel, and was called “a poetic and high-minded meditation on American developers’ manifest destiny and the cancer it introduces into the natural world,” by critic David Edelstein. It explored a … READ MORE