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CATEGORY: Interviews

Filmmaker Theo Anthony’s Ratty Exploration of Urban Segregation

In the New York Times critics’ pick review of Theo Anthony’s Rat Film, Jeannette Catsoulis wrote: “Equal parts disturbing and humorous, informative and bizarre, Rat Film is a brilliantly imaginative and formally experimental essay on how Baltimore has dealt with its rat problem and manipulated its black population.” She continues, “Anthony shines as much light on racist urban … READ MORE

10 Questions with “Rat Film” Composer Dan Deacon: On Baltimore, Rats, Player Pianos and Theremins

Baltimore-based composer/musician Dan Deacon did the music for Theo Anthony’s Rat Film [premiering on Independent Lens Feb. 26]. The film, which uses the urban rat as a way to explore a deeper story of urbanization and segregation, is a unique blend of history, science and sci-fi, poetry and portraiture. And Deacon’s music, also a unique … READ MORE

Filmmakers Marco Williams and Stanley Nelson Tell an Essential Chapter of American History in Story of HBCUs

Tell Them We Are Rising, which premieres on Independent Lens on PBS Monday, February 19 at 9 pm [check local listings], covers the rich history of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) from before the end of slavery through a flourishing in the 20th century to today, and how they profoundly influenced the course of … READ MORE

How a Chinese Filmmaker Ended up in Florida with a Drifter from Utah

Nanfu Wang was a student at NYU when she went exploring America, which found her in Florida staying at a hostel. There she encountered a young drifter named Dylan, whom she found fascinating enough to start filming, capturing his experiences living on the streets while she stayed right there with him. But then she went … READ MORE

Balancing Along the Thin Blue Line, Filmmaker Captures Police Force at an Explosive Time

A follow-up to his acclaimed, Independent Spirit Truer than Fiction Award-winning film The Waiting Room (Independent Lens, 2013), Pete Nicks’ The Force is part of a trilogy of films he’s making which are ostensibly about Oakland, where he’s based, but in a much larger sense are also about wholly American institutions — a hospital emergency room (and … READ MORE

How “I Am Not Your Negro” Filmmaker Reopened James Baldwin’s “House”

The worldly Haitian-born filmmaker Raoul Peck and his family fled the Duvalier dictatorship in 1961 and found asylum in the Democratic Republic of Congo, before Peck finished his schooling in the United States, France, and Germany. Currently living in both France and the U.S., Peck has been given numerous Human Rights Watch awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in … READ MORE

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

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

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

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