Space Scientists of Color, and the “Afronauts”

By Satu Runa What drives humankind to explore? There are several factors that can embolden a person to “seek out new civilizations” or “boldly go where no one has gone before,” to borrow from Star Trek‘s famous opener. History has taught us that famine, war, strife, and persecution can drive people away from their home … READ MORE

Wrestle

Wrestle goes inside the lives of four members of the high school wrestling team at Huntsville’s J.O. Johnson High School–a longstanding entry on Alabama’s list of failing schools. Teammates Jailen, Jamario, Teague, and Jaquan show that needing a win can be about much more than just beating your opponent on the mat.

Harvest Season

A story usually hidden behind a more glamorous front, Harvest Season probes the lives of the multigenerational Latinos, temporary laborers, and permanent residents intimately connected to the production of premium wines in the Napa and Sonoma regions of Northern California — in the midst of one of the most dramatic grape harvests in recent memory. … READ MORE

Wrestle – Sweating the Weigh-In – Clip

In this excerpt from the film Wrestle, on the night before a big meet, high school wrestling Coach Scribner and a supportive group of teammates and family stay up with an exhausted Jaquan who needs to drop 5 pounds overnight to make his weight class or he’ll have to forfeit. “You got this Jaquan,” the … READ MORE

Bernardo Ruiz Tells Story of the Central Role Latinos Play in California Wine Industry

Two-time Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz, who was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and grew up in Brooklyn, made his directorial feature debut with the PBS film Reportero, about attacks on the press in Mexico, which New York Magazine called “a powerful reminder of how journalism often requires immense amounts of physical and psychological bravery.” He’s followed that up with … READ MORE

Out of State

Out of State is an inside look at the lives of two native Hawaiians, David and Hale, sent thousands of miles away from the tropical islands to a private prison in the Arizona desert. In this unlikely setting, the men find a community of other native Hawaiians and discover their indigenous traditions from a fellow … READ MORE

Filmmaker Follows Incarcerated Native Hawaiians Discovering Their Indigenous Traditions

Native Hawaiian filmmaker Ciara Lacy has had her work aired on PBS, ABC, TLC, Discovery, Bravo and A&E, and was an inaugural Sundance Institute Merata Mita Fellow for Indigenous Artists. A graduate of Yale and Hawai’i’s Kamehameha Schools, Lacy’s first documentary short, shot for the Guardian Online, chronicled a unique homeless encampment in Hawai’i and yielded over … READ MORE

Charm City

Filmed over a violent three-year period in Baltimore, Charm City profiles a group of police, citizens, community leaders and government officials who, with grit and compassion, survive in and work to improve the vibrant neighborhoods they call home.

Stepping Up for Homeless Black People in Oakland

By Pendarvis Harshaw The Independent Lens documentary Charm City brings to mind the long list of urban American cities that fall into the same category as the Baltimore seen in that film: Detroit, Newark, Compton, and Oakland, to name a few. They’re all post-industrial towns, where the closure of factories, underfunding of public education and … READ MORE

Filmmaker Spotlights Unsung Neighbors Lifting Up Baltimore

Marilyn Ness is a two-time Emmy, Peabody, and DuPont Award-winning filmmaker, who has produced films like the acclaimed Cameraperson (dir. Kirsten Johnson), which was released by the Criterion Collection and shortlisted for an Oscar; Trapped (dir. Dawn Porter; Independent Lens), which won a Peabody; and the Independent Lens film 1971, which was nominated for an Emmy. … READ MORE