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TAG: african american

Memorial Day: Docs That Capture the Human Experience of War

There is no shortage of documentaries on war. The subject fascinates us as history, as sociology, and as drama. Some documentaries chronicle history in great detail, some grapple with the issues and forces behind the conflicts, and some flat-out propagandize. But very few of those documentaries actually engage with the human experience. So for Memorial … READ MORE

Filmmakers Tell Story of William Trotter’s Fight Against Racist Silent Blockbuster

Birth of a Movement, based on Dick Lehr’s book, captures the backdrop to a prescient clash between human rights, freedom of speech, and a changing media landscape — that happened in 1915. It is essentially the story of legendary film director D.W. Griffith, whose technically groundbreaking but inarguably racist silent film blockbuster Birth of a Nation was … READ MORE

The Offspring of Birth of a Nation

D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation is inarguably one of the landmarks of American cinema. The distillation of the storytelling techniques, editing ideas, framing and visual composition, and nuanced approaches to performance that Griffith spent years exploring and experimenting with in short subjects and mid-length films, it was the longest and most ambitious American … READ MORE

Stanley Nelson Reveals the Real Black Panther Party

Filmmaker Stanley Nelson, who won an Emmy for the PBS documentary The Murder of Emmett Till, three Emmys for Freedom Riders, and made an acclaimed film about Marcus Garvey, has for years aimed his probing but fair-minded lens on civil rights history. Along the way he realized he hadn’t really seen a film that covered the full and fascinating … READ MORE

Breaking Barriers on Stage: African American Ballet Dancers Who Made History

As we learn in A Ballerina’s Tale, Nelson George’s new documentary about Misty Copeland [February 8; check local listings], Eurocentric standards of body shape, muscle tone, and skin color excluded dancers who didn’t fit the wan mold demanded of prima ballerinas. All that changed in the summer of 2015, when Misty Copeland, a rising star already transcending the rarified … READ MORE

Black Family History Through a Lens

A wonderful companion piece to Thomas Allen Harris‘s new film Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People is his Digital Diaspora Family Reunion project — a roadshow connecting communities and history through family photographic archives. Read more about the project in this Documentary Magazine piece, which accurately sums it up as using “the power of interactive … READ MORE

Thomas Allen Harris Goes Through a Lens Darkly

Filmmaker Harris — whose films and installations have been featured at prestigious film festivals as well as museums and galleries including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Biennial, the Corcoran Gallery, Reina Sophia, and the London Institute of the Arts — talked to us about his own relationship with photography and what he hopes viewers will gain from seeing Through a Lens Darkly.

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Celebrate Black History Month With Us!

It’s February, and have we got some great ways to celebrate Black History Month! Enjoy these fascinating films and exciting educational resources all month long. Watch Spotlight on Civil Rights Leader Whitney Young, Jr. on PBS. See more from Independent Lens. Catch our premiere broadcast about a forgotten civil rights hero Civil rights leader Whitney … READ MORE

Independent Lens Drops in on the TV Critics Press Tour

What a whirlwind weekend. In Beverly Hills, the nation’s television critics assembled to get sneak peeks of upcoming shows headed to the small screen in the Fall. The first two days were given over to public television, and let’s just say PBS set the bar pretty high for the commercial broadcasters who will dominate the … READ MORE