Independent Lens Announces Winter-Spring 2016 Films

Independent Lens, which recently won the IDA’s Best Curated Series Award for the third consecutive year, announced its 2016 Winter-Spring season lineup today. “These films amplify conversations happening across the country on issues like the rise of gun violence, racial unrest, and the delicate balance between civil liberties and national security,” said Independent Lens executive producer Lois Vossen. … READ MORE

From the Archive: Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond Talks Motion Picture Making

In memory of Vilmos Zsigmond, the legendary cinematographer who died New Years Day, we reached into the Independent Lens archive for an interview Mr. Zsigmond gave us in June 2010 on the premiere of the documentary about Vilmos and his Hungarian compatriot and colleague, Laszlo Kovacs, No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos. Read on for a glimpse of … READ MORE

Ilinca Calugareanu Returns to Her 1980s Romania Roots

Chuck Norris vs Communism may not literally be the retro action film the title implies, it’s a shorthand way of reflecting how this new documentary captures the giddy way Romanians in the 1980s must have felt when they were given access to bootleg copies of American films. Trapped in a repressive Eastern Bloc society where decadent … READ MORE

Nine Movies about the Power of Cinema

In Ilinca Calugareanu’s documentary Chuck Norris vs. Communism [premiering Monday, Jan. 4 on PBS; check local listings], a handful of Romanians who endured the Cold War reminisce about congregating surreptitiously in cramped apartments to watch American action films on illegal VCRs. Some parts of the experience they recall fondly: like the camaraderie of movie nights, … READ MORE

A Letter from Jose Ansaldo and an Update from Oscar Ramos

UPDATE (2/7/17): News courtesy of East of Salinas filmmaker Laura Pacheco, teacher Oscar Ramos was just awarded the Cesar Chavez Human Rights Award! Our hearty congrats to Mr. Ramos on the well-deserved honor. #Cesar Chavez Human Rights Award Winner! Props to Oscar Ramos for his inspiration and commitment. pic.twitter.com/nvPsYopxjX — EAST OF SALINAS (@EastofSalinas) February 8, 2017 … 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

Cinema Verite: The Movement of Truth

This piece is part of an ongoing Independent Lens series exploring documentary film history. Check out the previous entry, Silent Real-Life Adventure Films, and stay tuned for more installments. The birth of documentary filmmaking is the birth of cinema. The very first films were documents of people, places, and events, whether scientific studies or the moving … READ MORE

Rest in Peace, John Trudell.

It has not been a happy month for Native American activists. Recently we said goodbye to Robin Poor Bear, and this week, activist/author/musician/poet John Trudell left this earth. Trudell was the subject of the Independent Lens film from a few years back called simply Trudell, by Heather Rae. One of his last messages, as per his … READ MORE

Independent Lens Wins Best Curated Series and Other Honors at 2015 IDA Awards

Independent Lens scored at the 2015 IDA Awards, handed out this weekend in Los Angeles. The prestigious awards are selected by the International Documentary Association every year to honor the year’s best in documentary filmmaking. The full list of winners was published on Variety. For the third year in a row, Independent Lens won Best Curated Series, this time … READ MORE

Blood Brother Update from Rocky Braat: Continuing the Story

Since Blood Brother aired on Independent Lens in early 2014, many of the film’s fans continue to ask how Rocky Braat and the kids he works with in India are doing. We posted one update on Rocky awhile back. But from the filmmakers comes this special video update, in time for World AIDS Day (December 1st). From … READ MORE

Sad News about Robin Poor Bear

This weekend we received sad news about the subject of the Independent Lens/FRONTLINE film Kind Hearted Woman. Robin Poor Bear, a.k.a. Charboneau, passed away this Friday at home in North Dakota. We will continue to share updates as they are released. Our hearts here at Independent Lens go out to Robin’s family, especially her two children. It … READ MORE

The Cost of Love: Caring for Adults with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities

Did you know that November is National Family Caregiver Month? (Here are some suggested ways of thanking the caregivers in your life.) The care of aging adults is a problem we all face, especially with more and more Americans living longer, but caring for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) makes the aging process all the more … READ MORE