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TOPIC: Youth & Family

Transgender People Trying to Find Love

For many, romance may be a swipe away via dating apps like Tinder and OKCupid, but it’s often more elusive for those who are transgender. We asked a few trans individuals to describe their experiences looking for love. READ MORE

Real Boy Director Shaleece Haas on Filming a Family in Flux

Documentary filmmaker Shaleece Haas has made several acclaimed shorts, worked as an editorial photographer and radio producer, and was a founding staff member of the national oral history project StoryCorps. All those paths led to her intimate feature film debut, Real Boy [which premieres on Independent Lens Monday, June 19 at 10pm; check local listings], … READ MORE

Teachers Beat the “Macho Culture” in Prisons through Art Programs

In the early 2000s, Hollywood invested in the urban fairy tale where a teacher is called into the principal’s office of a school in a low-income, broken part of town and is requested to help “build character and morale.” (Think Samuel L. Jackson in Coach Carter, Antonio Banderas in Take the Lead and Hilary Swank … READ MORE

Kim A. Snyder Tells Newtown Families’ Deeply Intimate Story

Filmmaker Kim Snyder is no stranger to having to patiently and empathetically ingratiate herself with a community. Her film Welcome to Shelbyville, which was nationally broadcast on Independent Lens, spent time in a small Tennessee town where its residents — whites and African Americans, Latinos and Somalis — grappled with their beliefs, their histories and their evolving ways of life. … READ MORE

Healing Places: Rebuilding After a Community Tragedy

“The only thing tragedy gives us is the opportunity to rebuild our life.” -writer Paulo Coelho The film Newtown asks, “What remains after all is lost?” Some have said that it is much harder to rebuild oneself after experiencing an unconscionable tragedy than it is to physically rebuild a space on the site the tragedy happened. … READ MORE

Principal Vonda Viland and 10 of the Most Unforgettable “Bad Kids”

The following is by Vonda Viland, principal of Black Rock Continuation High School in Yucca Valley in California’s Mojave Desert, and subject of the new film The Bad Kids, which premieres on Independent Lens March 20 at 10pm [check local listings]. Viland’s tireless work to help at-risk teenagers find their way to graduation is reflected both … READ MORE

Twin Sisters Are Growing Up (and Getting a Sequel)

The many global fans of our film Twin Sisters are constantly asking us for any kind of update on the twin girls featured in Mona Friis Bertheussen’s popular documentary. After getting a detailed report from one of the moms awhile back, we recently checked in with the Norway-based filmmaker to see how Mia and Alexandra are … READ MORE

June Cross Tells the Story of a Family Fighting HIV in South Carolina

June Cross, who has two national Emmys and two duPont-Columbia Journalism Awards to her credit and is the founder of the Documentary Program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, has always been interested in documenting families and issues of public health. Both converge in the most moving of ways for her new film Wilhemina’s … READ MORE

Laura Pacheco and Jackie Mow Tell the Story of a Farmworker’s Studious Son

Not just a filmmaker but a trained anthropologist, Laura Pacheco has traveled the world to tell the stories of people overcoming the odds of their rough circumstances, including for the Emmy Award-winning series Rx for Survival (PBS), where she followed a young woman dying of drug resistant TB in the slums of Lima, Peru, and in Renewal, … READ MORE