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CATEGORY: Behind the Films

Acclaimed Filmmaker David Sutherland Tells the Story of a Family Torn Apart by Deportation

David Sutherland takes his time to tell a story, both in the years he spends with his subject, the amount of footage he shoots, and the ultimate running time — which always feels earned.  His film Country Boys took seven years to bring to fruition as Sutherland returned again and again to the hills of Appalachian … READ MORE

How a Lifelong Fascination with Medicine Turned into a Film About the Rural Healthcare Crisis

[UPDATED April 6, 2019: We reached out to filmmakers Laura Green and Anna Moot-Levin to gather their thoughts on why they titled their film The Providers.] The filmmaking team behind the Independent Lens documentary The Providers live on opposite coasts from each other — Laura Green in San Francisco, Anna Moot-Levin in Brooklyn — but they came … READ MORE

Director Explores Live Streaming Revolution and How Technology Affects Human Happiness

Technology executive-turned-filmmaker Hao Wu takes a raw and human approach to storytelling in an era when culture evolves online, and for his very first feature film, People’s Republic of Desire Wu won a SXSW Film Festival Grand Jury Prize–pretty impressive for a self-taught filmmaker. He expertly tells a real-life Black Mirror-esque tale that is, wrote … READ MORE

RaMell Ross Charts “the Visual Story of Blackness” in Oscar-Nominated Doc

Just one year after RaMell Ross’ Hale County This Morning, This Evening won a Special Jury Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, the filmmaker will follow his film’s television debut on PBS by awaiting the Academy Awards, where it is one of five finalists for Best Documentary Feature. Quite a journey for the photographer-teacher-turned-filmmaker, for … READ MORE

Three Things About “The King,” with Eugene Jarecki and Steven Soderbergh

Documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki’s pedigree is impressive. He has twice won the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and the Peabody Award for: The House I Live In, his 2013 film about America’s War on Drugs (which had its broadcast premiere on Independent Lens); and for his 2005 film about American foreign policy, Why We Fight. … READ MORE

Director Duo Show No Easy Answers in Fight Over Land

The team behind the new Independent Lens film My Country No More, Rita Baghdadi and Jeremiah Hammerling, told us they were drawn to Hammerling’s native North Dakota to make this film “because his hometown, as well as much of rural America, was changing rapidly and we wanted to document those changes. And we also wanted to explore the importance … READ MORE

Erika Cohn Unfolds a New Perception of Shari’a Law in Portrait of Remarkable Woman

Erika Cohn, who co-directed (with Tony Vainuku) the Emmy Award-winning Independent Lens doc In Football We Trust, went from the gridiron in Utah to the Shari’a courts of Palestine for her follow-up film The Judge, the story of the first-ever female judge in Palestine’s religious courts. The film is “a welcome femme-empowered portrait of an inspirational female … READ MORE

Paying Homage to UT Tower Mass Shooting Victims with Life Affirming Animation

Craig Staggs is the lead animator for the little animation studio that could, Minnow Mountain, based in Austin, Texas, also the home base of filmmaker Keith Maitland. Staggs’ company did the brilliantly layered animation for Maitland’s film TOWER. Of that film which tells the story of the heroes and victims who were on the University of … READ MORE