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All posts by Craig Phillips

Craig is the digital content producer for Independent Lens, based in San Francisco. He is a film nerd, cartoonist, classic film poster collector, wannabe screenwriter, and owner of/owned by cats.

“Nobody Was Listening”: Finding Light in a Dark Stairwell

Filmmaker Ursula Liang‘s previous documentary 9-Man was about the fascinating titular sport that originated among Chinese immigrant communities in the United States and Canada, and was set in mostly Boston, Washington and Toronto. Her new film Down a Dark Stairwell takes Liang and her crew down a darker storyline, but as the Massachusetts native Liang … READ MORE

“Coded Bias” Explores Blurring of Real and Imagined Artificial Intelligence

Shalini Kantayya has directed visually eye-catching and memorable work for both National Geographic TV with Breakthrough, a series profiling trailblazing scientists transforming the future) and the documentary Catching the Sun, about the race for a clean energy future, a New York Times Critics’ Pick executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. For her second feature-length documentary, Coded … READ MORE

Who Was Mr. SOUL?

If you’re of a certain generation and familiar at all with the late ’60s and early ’70s groundbreaking public TV show SOUL!, you may recognize the name Ellis Haizlip, but he’s not exactly a household name. The groundbreaking producer and co-host of the show is also filmmaker Melissa Haizlip’s late uncle. While Ellis Haizlip sadly … READ MORE

Telling the Story of Gender, Politics, and Violence in America Through the Eyes of Women Police Officers

In addition to her documentaries Still Doing It: The Intimate Lives of Women Over 65, and Suicide On Campus, a web documentary produced in conjunction with The New York Times Magazine, Deirdre Fishel‘s previous film CARE peeled back the curtain of a topic Americans often avert their eyes away from, the largely hidden world of … READ MORE

The Story of 9to5: A Movement that Changed the American Workplace

Julia Reichert and her filmmaking partner and life partner Steve Bognar, have been making documentaries for a long while. Most recently, in 2020, the team won the Academy Award for American Factory, about the reopening of a shuttered auto factory in Ohio. But their incredible dossier goes back to the 1970s — Julia’s first film, … READ MORE

How Jared Leto and 92 Film Crews Captured 24 Hours in America

In some ways, you’d think Jared Leto, Oscar-winning actor, movie star, and frontman for Platinum-selling band (with his brother Shannon) 30 Seconds to Mars, would not need much of an introduction. But now you can add another hat, with a new, heartfelt project for Leto, which is in some ways as ambitious as anything he’s … READ MORE

Battling a Male-Dominated World for Recognition and a Raise

Filmmaker Yu Gu was born in Chongqing, China, raised in Vancouver, Canada, and found her way to the University of Southern California film program. Her films, like the feature documentary that she co-directed Who is Arthur Chu?, which won two festival grand jury awards and was broadcast on WORLD Channel in 2018, explore intersections between … READ MORE

Filmmaker Exposes Shocking Pattern of Illegal Sterilizations in Women’s Prisons

Erika Cohn has made powerful documentaries for Independent Lens before and is no stranger to telling intimate, surprising stories in tense environments: her Peabody Award-winning film The Judge showed Shari’a law in a new light to Western eyes, through the story of the first-ever female judge in Palestine’s religious courts; and the Utah native filmmaker … READ MORE

Jonathan Scott Investigates Who Controls Our Power

In some ways Jonathan Scott should need no introduction—or so you’d think as co-host with his brother Drew of the hugely popular HGTV shows Property Brothers and Brother vs. Brother, which air in more than 160 countries, and as a best-selling author, magazine co-founder, Billboard-charting recording artist, and social media influencer. But there’s another side … READ MORE

How Three Passionate Candidates Represent Women Shaping the Future

What does “representation” mean in the midst of a historically tense election year?  In her film Represent, filmmaker Hillary Bachelder sought to show the universal struggle to redefine repressive expectations for women in politics with a look at three women running for office in a male-dominated world. Originally from Maine, Bachelder went to Chicago for … READ MORE

Comfort Viewing: What Filmmakers and Writers Are Watching to Get Through It

What are YOU watching to provide comfort during these trying times? Filmmakers, artists, critics and writers chimed in with their personal favorite shows and films to watch when in dire need of checking out and calming down, which, let’s face it, is pretty commonly needed these days.  See what they came up with below.