BLOG

CATEGORY: Beyond the Films

Is This Real Life: The Live Streaming Craze Explained

By Siyi Chen When my dad, a small businessman from Southeast China, asked me, his social media-savvy daughter, how to utilize the internet to help sell his agricultural products, the first thing that came to mind was live streaming. “It’s kind of like the TV shopping channels you watch,” I tried to explain to him, … READ MORE

Elvis and the Death of the American Dream, Through Movies

Elvis Presley is ostensibly the subject of The King, Eugene Jarecki’s expansive road movie of a documentary. The award-winning director drives Presley’s 1963 Rolls-Royce across the US, from Mississippi and Memphis to Nashville, New York, Las Vegas, Hollywood, and elsewhere, talking to historians, musicians, members of Presley’s inner circle, and everyday Americans. Elvis centers the … READ MORE

11 Questions for 3 Filmmakers About a Million Swamp Rats

The trio of filmmakers behind the Independent Lens film Rodents of Unusual Size — Jeff Springer, Chris Metzler and Quinn Costello — have previously captured unique environmental stories with a very human element to them, as Jeff and Chris made the award-winning cult favorite Plagues and Pleasures of the Salton Sea (since Jeff was born in … READ MORE

Invasive Species Turned into Sustainable Delicacies

by Claralyse Palmer Vegetarianism has become synonymous with environmentalism, the idea being that going meat-free saves not just animals but the planet (which certainly has some truth to it, especially when it comes to cattle). But the Independent Lens film Rodents of Unusual Size presents sustainable eating as something more nuanced than total renunciation of … READ MORE

Filmmakers Navigate the Secretive World of Social Media Censorship in Atmosphere of Fear

You know German filmmakers Moritz Riesewieck and Hans Block are sharp-minded characters when you learn they work collaboratively under the label “Laokoon,” named after the legendary Trojan seer Laocoön who in Greek mythology revealed the Trojan Horse as a dangerous fraud. In their works, Riesewieck and Block aim to reveal the Trojan horses of our … READ MORE

Delete or Ignore? Pretend You’re a Facebook Content Moderator

In 2018, after much debate and controversy, Facebook finally published its censorship policies. All 27 pages of them. The move, wrote the LA Times, “adds a new degree of transparency to a process that users, the public and advocates have criticized as arbitrary and opaque.” But as explored in the Independent Lens film The Cleaners, … READ MORE

The Toll: Wildland Firefighters Share Stories from the Job

Fallen firefighter Robert E. Caldwell, a Granite Mountain hotshot who perished in the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona, said to a comrade, “I’d rather die in my boots than live in a suit.” It would seem one would have to have that mentality to purposely choose such a dangerous vocation. It is a calling, but … READ MORE

Filmmakers Turned Firefighters Venture Behind the Lines in “Wildland”

Filmmaker Alex Jablonski and his filmmaking partner Khalil Hudson had quite the arduous, smoke-filled journey to make the film Wildland. The documentary premieres on Independent Lens Monday, Oct. 29. Alex told us that Wildland started with a question: How do young men grow up? “We always wanted to tell a story about wildland firefighters but it was … READ MORE

Things Only Women Who Served in the Military Would Understand

We asked a few women veterans one question and one question only: What are things only women who’ve served in the military would understand?  Denyse Gordon (at right), who served 12 years on active duty as a US Air Force Reserves Master Sergeant and is featured in the film Served Like a Girl, writes: “For those with longer than … READ MORE

Takeovers and Occupations: A Survey of American Mini-Rebellions and Political Stands

In the Independent Lens No Man’s Land, we get a fly on the wall sense of the tense armed takeover and 41-day standoff at Oregon’s Malheur Wildlife Refuge, led by rancher Ammon Bundy and his militia. Before it was all over, 26 people were arrested and charged with felony conspiracy against the government for their roles … READ MORE