Cathy Renna on the Legacy of Fred Martinez

Cathy Renna, managing partner at Renna Communications and former organizer and spokesperson for GLAAD, is featured in the film Two Spirits (premiering on Tuesday, June 14 on PBS; check local listings). She wrote this blog post for us. It is hard to believe that a decade has passed since the brutal murder of Fred Martinez. … READ MORE

Demystifying the Language of Gender

Two Spirits has prompted a lively conversation about gender identity. When talking about issues related to the LGBT community, the always-evolving terminology can be difficult to grasp. When watching this week’s Two Spirits broadcast or in discussions about the film, you may find yourself confused about terms such as “transgender.” Here’s a quick reference guide … READ MORE

Women and Girls Lead Featured at PBS Annual Meeting

We kicked it off with Bhutto two weeks ago, and last week the PBS family assembled in Orlando, Florida and discussed the ITVS initiative Women and Girls Lead. Check out this panel moderated by Pat Harrison, president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and featuring actor Geena Davis, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger, Pulitzer … READ MORE

Shelbyville Director Tackles Race, Immigration, and What it Means to Be American

Kim A. Snyder is an award-winning filmmaker who has made more than a dozen shorts and two feature documentaries. Her latest film, Welcome To Shelbyville, is premiering on Independent Lens Tuesday May 24 at 10 PM (check local listings). In 2007, Kim co-founded the BeCause Foundation to direct and produce a series of socially conscious … READ MORE

Ethnobiology Enthusiast Filmmaker versus MOTHRA!

We caught up with Jessica Oreck, the director of Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo, to talk about her maiden voyage into documentary filmmaking. For a young woman who spent a lifetime fascinated with bugs and movies, Oreck’s film seems almost like the fulfillment of personal destiny, and an unexpected a chance to find the beauty in … READ MORE

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is Coming to Independent Lens!

Based on the bestselling book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the series Half the Sky:¬†Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide¬†will premiere as a special presentation on Independent Lens in Fall 2012. The project is a cornerstone of the recently announced Women and Girls Lead campaign. ITVS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting announced … READ MORE

Women and Girls Lead: A New Public Media Initiative

It has been a pretty exciting week around here. On Monday, President and CEO of the Independent Television Service Sally Jo Fifer announced the launch of an ambitious multiyear, multiplatform campaign to bring the powerful storytelling power of independent media to bear on issues surround women and girls worldwide. On Tuesday, we premiered Bhutto, the … READ MORE

Meet Sophia Nahli Allison, Our Winning Viewer Artist!

Aspiring filmmaker Sophia Nahli Allison won our Artists Month contest for her striking self-portrait, entitled “Unrequited Love.” We asked her about her art and her life, her guilty pleasures and inspirations, and why Independent Lens matters to her. Tell us a little about yourself. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. My mother was … READ MORE

The Danger and Pathos of Shooting the BHUTTO Doc

The day after Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, political consultant and film producer and director Duane Baughman was on the phone with his colleague Mark Siegel, who had been a close personal friend and confidante of Bhutto’s. In their grief, the two hatched a plan to shoot a film about the Pakistani politician, … READ MORE

Behind Independent Lens: Fighting for Diverse Public Media

We get the questions often enough here at Independent Lens about PBS, the federal budget, and the idea of publicly funded media in general. Many of our viewers probably aren’t aware that PBS is not a network in the same sense that CBS or even CNN are. Also true is that Independent Lens is produced … READ MORE

Ever Have a Teacher Who Changed Your Life?

Teachers — often overworked, frequently underappreciated, sometimes demonized, usually meagerly compensated. But all of us have had teachers who helped us grow up and make sense of the world, and to find our place in it. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week (but really all year long) we want educators to get the props (and … READ MORE

Viewer Tracy Chiles McGhee is One Inspired Woman

During Women’s History Month, we aired a number of documentaries featuring incredibly smart, brave, and talented women including Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai (Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai) and Rose Mapendo (Pushing the Elephant). That got us to thinking about all of the amazing women in the world and how each of … READ MORE