Filmmaker with M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Investigates Her Own Medical Mystery in Unrest

To say filmmaker Jen Brea has made the most of her challenging situation would be a vast understatement. Burdened with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), she produced her film Unrest (premiering on Independent Lens Jan. 8 at 10 pm; check local listings) for the most part literally from her bed, yet managed to include people from … READ MORE

Muscle Shoals’ Rick Hall Passes Away

Sad news to report, that Rick Hall, the star of the Independent Lens film Muscle Shoals, has died at the age of 85 after a long illness. The Fame Studios founder, who is credited with launching the career of such music icons as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and others, published and recorded numerous R&B, pop and … READ MORE

Take the Armistead Maupin and Tales of the City Pop Quiz!

How much do you know about Armistead Maupin and about his beloved Tales of the City series? Are you a Maupin superfan? Take this quiz we created for both for longtime fans and those who are newer to Maupin and Tales to enjoy. However you grade out, we think you’ll both enjoy it and learn something. Direct … READ MORE

From North Carolina to San Francisco: Jennifer Kroot Tells the Tales of Maupin

Jennifer Kroot brings a background in underground filmmaking to her documentaries and uses that sensibility to create surprises within her stories. The San Francisco-based filmmaker first caught the eye of writer Armistead Maupin when he saw her documentary To Be Takei, about actor and activist George Takei, and, as Maupin said affectionately and humorously in … READ MORE

On Supergirls, Sasha Fierce, Slim Shady and Having an Alter Ego

By Michelle Konstantinovsky Naomi Kutin is technically the central subject of the new Independent Lens documentary Supergirl. But as the film unfolds, viewers learn fairly quickly that there are actually two equally important protagonists: Kutin and her all-powerful alter ego, “Supergirl.” At first glance, the story might seem specific to Kutin, but the New Jersey pre-teen is representative … READ MORE

Jessie Auritt Explores the World of an Unorthodox Girl in Orthodox World

“Showcasing a normal girl doing extraordinary things, Supergirl is a health tonic for this cramping climate of resurgent sexism underway where girls everywhere are struggling to understand their worth,” wrote Lora Grillo in The Playlist. The documentary Supergirl, which premieres on Independent Lens on PBS December 18 at 10 pm [check local listings], explores the … READ MORE

Meet Your Guides to the Shady Global Arms Trade of Shadow World

Shadow World is in many senses an epic film, that (as Ian McQuaid wrote in The Ransom Note) “draws together a sordid tale of corruption, violence, and greed that sprawls across decades and continents… the documentary covers the full, hideous spectrum of half a century of arms manufacturing.” The “superbly edited, angry documentary about the global arms trade” … READ MORE

Filmmaker John Scheinfeld Chases Coltrane’s Legacy

Filmmaker John Scheinfeld is no stranger to taking on challenging subjects for documentaries. The Emmy®, Grammy® and Writers Guild Award nominee and writer/director/producer’s other films include The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him), We Believe, and Dick Cavett’s Watergate. But something about the story of legendary jazz … READ MORE

Chasing Trane Playlist: Coltrane and His Disciples

By Nick Dedina, Guest Contributor Drop a needle on a John Coltrane record, hit play on one of his digital playlists, or watch Chasing Trane and it’s easy to understand why the saxophonist is universally revered as a musical giant. The ways in which Coltrane influenced jazz are vast. But the saxophonist has also had a … READ MORE

Independent Lens 2017-2018 Season Launches With Award-Winning Slate

Independent Lens’ new season is here and so take a peek at the unforgettable, award-winning films that make up the first half of the 2017-2018 slate. We open on Monday, November 6 with Chasing Trane, John Scheinfeld’s portrait of legendary saxophonist John Coltrane, featuring Denzel Washington speaking the words of Coltrane. Other highlights of the Fall 2017-Winter 2018 lineup include Raoul … READ MORE

Independent Lens Wins Four 2017 News and Documentary Emmys

Last night, the 38th annual News and Documentary Emmy® Awards were held at the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City, and Independent Lens was thrilled to learn four of our films took home the Emmy® statuette. Congratulations to the winning films: In Football We Trust, Best of Enemies, The Armor … READ MORE