Filmmakers Share the Roots of their Seed Documentary

With SEED: The Untold Story, filmmakers Taggart Siegel and Jon Betz complete a trilogy of sorts, after The Real Dirt on Farmer John and The New York Times Critic Pick Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us, of films that put a very human face on the intersection of agriculture and ecology. … READ MORE

Kim A. Snyder Tells Newtown Families’ Deeply Intimate Story

Filmmaker Kim Snyder is no stranger to having to patiently and empathetically ingratiate herself with a community. Her film Welcome to Shelbyville, which was nationally broadcast on Independent Lens, spent time in a small Tennessee town where its residents — whites and African Americans, Latinos and Somalis — grappled with their beliefs, their histories and their evolving ways of life. … READ MORE

Healing Places: Rebuilding After a Community Tragedy

“The only thing tragedy gives us is the opportunity to rebuild our life.” -writer Paulo Coelho The film Newtown asks, “What remains after all is lost?” Some have said that it is much harder to rebuild oneself after experiencing an unconscionable tragedy than it is to physically rebuild a space on the site the tragedy happened. … READ MORE

Girl Power: The Original #SquadGoals (and Just #Goals in General)

In the Independent Lens documentary Ovarian Psycos, we’re introduced to The Ovas — a chicanx (xicanx) feminist group who bike through the streets of East L.A. in honor of sisterhood. While bike riding in solidarity is definitely an underground movement, womxn coming together to uplift and empower one another has been a huge part of recent … READ MORE

Ovarian Psycos Filmmakers Follow the Ovas Bike Brigade in East L.A.

Ovarian Psycos brought together filmmakers Joanna Sokolowski, who co-produced the Emmy® Award-winning HBO documentary Very Semi-Serious (2015), about New Yorker cartoonists, and Kate Trumbull-LaValle, an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker who first began in the field of social justice media as an educator and media maker. They collaborated to tell the story of the “Ovas,” a raucous, irreverently … READ MORE

Nine Great Documentaries About Women Activists

As Women’s History Month continues, we’re shining the spotlight on women activists who faced down injustice, pioneered paths for other women and girls, or have fought heroically trying to save the world. Although the women on this list focused on different arenas, in the end they’re all inevitably linked. As feminist icon Gloria Steinem wrote … READ MORE

Principal Vonda Viland and 10 of the Most Unforgettable “Bad Kids”

The following is by Vonda Viland, principal of Black Rock Continuation High School in Yucca Valley in California’s Mojave Desert, and subject of the documentary The Bad Kids. Viland’s tireless work to help at-risk teenagers find their way to graduation is reflected both in the film and in the fact that Black Rock High School was recently … READ MORE

Meet the Trailblazers of Documentary Activism

We think of the cinema of activism in documentary filmmaking as a relatively modern phenomenon, something first awakened in the 1960s and 1970s and popularized by the likes of Michael Moore and Laura Poitras and Alex Gibney. But the success films like Bowling for Columbine (2002) and An Inconvenient Truth (2006), both Oscar winners and box-office … READ MORE

10 Great Animated Documentaries

Keith Maitland’s animated documentary TOWER [on Independent Lens Tuesday, February 14 at 10pm; check local listings] has left critics and awards-voting bodies alike flummoxed as to how best to categorize it. This is a visionary work, no doubt, that uses voice-actors and vintage audio to reconstruct what happened back in 1966 when a sniper shot dozens of … READ MORE

TOWER Playlist: 1966 Music Soundscape

Pure and simple, 1966 was considered by many critics as one of the greatest years for popular music ever [see the Guardian’s “Was 1966 pop music greatest’s year?” and the LA Times‘ “1966 Could be Rock’s Most Revolutionary Year“]. The AV Club’s Steven Hyden on why 1966 was his favorite year for music: “I chose … READ MORE