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TOPIC: Youth & Family

Game On: Why We Are Playing Board Games More Than Ever

By Lennlee Keep It was the summer of 1979 in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Everyone in my family gets a sunburn when we even think about a beach, so we are very indoorsy. My 11-year-old brother Rob had a new game: Dungeons & Dragons. He studied the dragon-decorated guide books and painted teeny metal elves with paint … READ MORE

Filmmakers Capture Young Men Wrestling to Succeed and Be Seen

The story of four members of the high school wrestling team at Huntsville’s J.O. Johnson High School–a longstanding entry on Alabama’s list of failing schools–and their tough-love coach coming to terms with his own past, Wrestle is “superb,” wrote Kenneth Turan in the LA Times. “Just as sports mirror society, so do the best sports films not only take us inside games and those who play them but also provide insight into our world and how it works.” He rightly adds, “One reason Wrestle is so effective is that [the directors] and cinematographer Sinisa Kukic made the decision to move to Huntsville for the duration of the shoot. What resulted was not only 650 hours of footage but the benefit of countless additional time spent just hanging out with the protagonists.”

Herbert and co-director Belfer spoke to us about how they came to make this film and that decision to move to Alabama for a long while, as well as how the kids are doing today.  READ MORE

High School Coaches Wear Many Hats to Make an Impact

Driving kids home from practice, taking them to visit colleges, running and lifting weights with them out of season, answering the phone in the middle of the night when something has gone wrong — these are just a few of the many roles sports coaches take on for their players. The player/coach relationship can be special, as seen in the film Wrestle, it can be a chance for young people to connect with a mentor who knows them individually and pushes them through their struggles. READ MORE

Acclaimed Filmmaker David Sutherland Tells the Story of a Family Torn Apart by Deportation

David Sutherland takes his time to tell a story, both in the years he spends with his subject, the amount of footage he shoots, and the ultimate running time — which always feels earned.  His film Country Boys took seven years to bring to fruition as Sutherland returned again and again to the hills of Appalachian … READ MORE

An Update from Elizabeth Perez

Note: Elizabeth Perez, star of David Sutherland’s film Marcos Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (a co-presentation of Independent Lens, FRONTLINE, and Voces), wrote us a heartfelt update about how she, her husband Marcos, and their family are doing. Here’s Elizabeth with more: I guess it’s kind of like a journal. I hope it’s not too long. … READ MORE

How to Pronounce (and Not Pronounce) “Tre Maison Dasan”

One of the three “stars” of the documentary Tre Maison Dasan, Maison is a funny, charming, hyper-articulate 11-year-old whose Autism Spectrum Disorder presents itself through his ever-active mind and deep love for those around him. He also very much wants you to know how to properly pronounce his name and the names of his fellow stars in … READ MORE

RaMell Ross Charts “the Visual Story of Blackness” in Oscar-Nominated Doc

Just one year after RaMell Ross’ Hale County This Morning, This Evening won a Special Jury Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, the filmmaker will follow his film’s television debut on PBS by awaiting the Academy Awards, where it is one of five finalists for Best Documentary Feature. Quite a journey for the photographer-teacher-turned-filmmaker, for … READ MORE

Five Questions About Fred Rogers with Morgan Neville

“When I met Joanne Rogers, I told her I wanted to make a film not about Fred Rogers’ story but about his ideas,” filmmaker Morgan Neville wrote about Won’t You Be My Neighbor? “She smiled and said that sounded pretty good, because Fred had always said his own story was the most boring story of all … 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