Based on a True Story: 8 Documentaries that Inspired Feature Films

True stories have been a prime inspiration for movies for as long as there have been movies. Early films recreated historical events and breaking news for eager audiences and films as disparate as I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1921) and In Which We Serve (1942) to All the President’s Men (1976) and … READ MORE

Seven Years Filming the Homeless of Oakland

The filmmaking team of Amir Soltani and Chihiro Wimbush both come from incredibly varied backgrounds, and bring an abundance of talents and interests to the table for the first feature documentary film for both as directors: Dogtown Redemption, which won the Audience Favorite Award at the Mill Valley Film Festival. Among many other hats, Soltani … READ MORE

Armed in America: Faith & Guns

Join PBS for a town hall conversation about gun violence and the moral obligation to prevent it. Armed in America: Faith & Guns, a one-hour special event moderated by award-winning journalist Michel Martin, weekend host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” explores the relationship between faith and guns in America. Reverend Rob Schenck and Lucy McBath participate in this conversation, along with … READ MORE

Armed in America: Police & Guns

Join PBS for a town hall conversation examining the militarization of police and the nation’s gun violence epidemic. Armed in America: Police & Guns, a one-hour special event moderated by award-winning journalist Michel Martin, weekend host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” explores whether U.S. police forces are becoming increasingly militarized. Among those that participated in this conversation are … READ MORE

Abigail Disney Wields the Power of Dialogue with The Armor of Light

Abigail Disney (her grandfather was Roy O. Disney, Walt’s brother and co-founder of the Walt Disney Company, just to get that out of the way) has long been a producer of award-winning documentaries, including producing Pray the Devil Back to Hell, The Invisible War (Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated film for Independent Lens, 2013), and the five-part PBS special series Women, War … READ MORE

Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber Capture a Man on a Mission

Utah-based filmmakers Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber found a supremely compelling story right in their own backyard for their film Peace Officer. The film is several things at once: a personal journey with a man who experienced a tragedy, former sheriff “Dub” Lawrence who established and trained one of Utah’s first SWAT teams, only to see that … READ MORE

Losing Your Religion: Nine Movies about Crises of Faith

Abigail Disney’s documentary The Armor of Light [airing on PBS this coming Monday, May 10 at 8pm; check local listings] takes an unusual but illuminating approach to the gun control debate. In the film, Reverend Rob Schenck — an evangelical Christian who gained some cachet on the right decades ago via his leadership of anti-abortion Operation … READ MORE

Gun Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Guns in America?

No matter what your stance is on gun ownership, you may be surprised to learn the real trends fueling the debate. In conjunction with the PBS broadcast premieres of the documentaries Peace Officer (airs Monday, May 9 at 9pm) and The Armor of Light (airs Tuesday, May 10 at 8pm) in a two-part special “Armed in America,” we … READ MORE

The Evolution of SWAT Team Equipment: From WWII Rifles to BearCats

When former Davis County Sheriff William “Dub” Lawrence, the subject of the Independent Lens film Peace Officer [Monday, May 9 at 9pm on PBS; check local listings], established one of Utah’s first SWAT teams in 1975 he initially required a four-officer unit, but he could only find three men in his department who met the physical fitness requirements. Forty … READ MORE

PBS to Present “Armed in America” Town Halls, a Special Two-Night Event After Independent Lens

PBS will present ARMED IN AMERICA, a special two-night television event exploring the nation’s rising gun violence, is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, May 9-10, 2016. Armed in America centers around two acclaimed documentaries presented by Independent Lens: Peace Officer, about a former sheriff who, after establishing and training Utah’s first SWAT team, raises questions about the dangers … READ MORE

Human Rights Lawyer Philippe Sands Confronts Children of Nazis with Painful Past

While some might call Philippe Sands the on-screen host of My Nazi Legacy, the new film by David Evans that is based on Sands’ new book, he’s actually the probing, searching journalistic heart at the center of this powerful documentary. The book, East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, published … READ MORE