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TOPIC: Labor

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

Is This Real Life: The Live Streaming Craze Explained

By Siyi Chen When my dad, a small businessman from Southeast China, asked me, his social media-savvy daughter, how to utilize the internet to help sell his agricultural products, the first thing that came to mind was live streaming. “It’s kind of like the TV shopping channels you watch,” I tried to explain to him, … READ MORE

Elvis and the Death of the American Dream, Through Movies

Elvis Presley is ostensibly the subject of The King, Eugene Jarecki’s expansive road movie of a documentary. The award-winning director drives Presley’s 1963 Rolls-Royce across the US, from Mississippi and Memphis to Nashville, New York, Las Vegas, Hollywood, and elsewhere, talking to historians, musicians, members of Presley’s inner circle, and everyday Americans. Elvis centers the … READ MORE

Independent Lens Film “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” Honored with Oscar Nomination

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced the nominations for the 91st Oscars and Independent Lens was elated that Hale County This Morning, This Evening received a nomination for Best Feature Documentary. RaMell Ross‘s critically acclaimed film, “made modestly and intimately,” wrote Richard Brody in The New Yorker, the film “embodies a … 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

Filmmakers Navigate the Secretive World of Social Media Censorship in Atmosphere of Fear

You know German filmmakers Moritz Riesewieck and Hans Block are sharp-minded characters when you learn they work collaboratively under the label “Laokoon,” named after the legendary Trojan seer Laocoön who in Greek mythology revealed the Trojan Horse as a dangerous fraud. In their works, Riesewieck and Block aim to reveal the Trojan horses of our … READ MORE

Delete or Ignore? Pretend You’re a Facebook Content Moderator

In 2018, after much debate and controversy, Facebook finally published its censorship policies. All 27 pages of them. The move, wrote the LA Times, “adds a new degree of transparency to a process that users, the public and advocates have criticized as arbitrary and opaque.” But as explored in the Independent Lens film The Cleaners, … 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

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

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