For “Winnie”: Anti-Apartheid Songs of Protest

By Sarah Bardeen, guest contributor Modern South Africa was forged in apartheid. The struggle defined life for generations of South Africans, and music was crucial in that struggle. Black South Africans saw their guns confiscated, their homes bulldozed, their land stolen, but in the mouths of demonstrators, song became both a balm and a weapon. … READ MORE

When God Sleeps

Would you risk your life for what you believe in? When God Sleeps is a rap-punk-rock documentary about Iranian musician Shahin Najafi, who is forced into hiding after hardline clerics issue a fatwa for his death, incensed by a rap song that focuses on the oppression of women and human rights abuses. Risking his life … READ MORE

Muscle Shoals’ Rick Hall Passes Away

Sad news to report, that Rick Hall, the star of the Independent Lens film Muscle Shoals, has died at the age of 85 after a long illness. The Fame Studios founder, who is credited with launching the career of such music icons as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and others, published and recorded numerous R&B, pop and … READ MORE

On Supergirls, Sasha Fierce, Slim Shady and Having an Alter Ego

By Michelle Konstantinovsky Naomi Kutin is technically the central subject of the new Independent Lens documentary Supergirl. But as the film unfolds, viewers learn fairly quickly that there are actually two equally important protagonists: Kutin and her all-powerful alter ego, “Supergirl.” At first glance, the story might seem specific to Kutin, but the New Jersey pre-teen is representative … READ MORE

Chasing Trane

Set against the social, political and cultural landscape of the times, Chasing Trane brings saxophone great John Coltrane to life, as a man and an artist. The film is the definitive look at the boundary-shattering musician whose influence continues to this day.

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

Chasing Trane Playlist: Coltrane and His Disciples

By Nick Dedina, Guest Contributor Drop a needle on a John Coltrane record, hit play on one of his digital playlists, or watch Chasing Trane and it’s easy to understand why the saxophonist is universally revered as a musical giant. The ways in which Coltrane influenced jazz are vast. But the saxophonist has also had a … READ MORE

Chasing Trane – Coltrane Reawakens with New Blood – Clip

In this excerpt from the Independent Lens documentary Chasing Trane, legendary jazz saxophonist John Coltrane is brought to life—with his words spoken by Denzel Washington—in the period of artistic flourishing shortly after he’d become clean and sober. Here, Coltrane collaborates with the brilliant composer/pianist Thelonious Monk and then ventures out on his own as a … READ MORE

Chasing Trane – Trailer

Set against the social, political and cultural landscape of the times, Chasing Trane brings saxophone great John Coltrane to life, as a man and an artist. The film is the definitive look at the boundary-shattering musician whose influence continues to this day.   Chasing Trane features never-before-seen Coltrane family home movies, footage of Coltrane and his … READ MORE

Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary

Season premiere! Set against the social, political and cultural landscape of the times, Chasing Trane brings saxophone great John Coltrane to life, as a man and an artist. The film is the definitive look at the boundary-shattering musician whose influence continues to this day. 

12 Trans Musicians Carving Their Own Identities

Real Boy is the portrait of Bennett, who is undergoing gender reassignment surgery, and his mom’s struggle to process the change, but it’s also the portrait of a young musician (Bennett) who is mentored by the more experienced folk singer Joe Stevens (who is also trans and been through a lot of ups and downs … READ MORE

Real Boy – Trailer

A moving and intimate story of a family in transition, Real Boy follows the journey of trans teen Bennett as he navigates adolescence, sobriety, and the physical and emotional ramifications of his changing gender identity. Through the process, his mother Suzy makes her own transformation — travelling a difficult road toward accepting that the daughter … READ MORE