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TOPIC: Health & Environment

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

Stepping Up for Homeless Black People in Oakland

By Pendarvis Harshaw The Independent Lens documentary Charm City brings to mind the long list of urban American cities that fall into the same category as the Baltimore seen in that film: Detroit, Newark, Compton, and Oakland, to name a few. They’re all post-industrial towns, where the closure of factories, underfunding of public education and … READ MORE

New Efforts to Improve Rural Healthcare Crisis

By Suzanne Gordon The three caregivers we meet in The Providers face daunting challenges as they try to deliver medical and mental healthcare to patients in rural New Mexico. Sadly, their struggles are reproduced all over America because for decades the nation has failed to address the problem of delivering healthcare outside of urban and … 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

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