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TOPIC: Civil Rights

Filmmaker Explores First Steps Toward Justice and Reconciliation

Independent filmmaker Jacqueline Olive, who has worked in non-fiction filmmaking for years and co-directed and co-produced the award-winning hour-long documentary, Black to Our Roots (PBS WORLD), makes her feature documentary directing debut with the searing Always in Season, which was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Moral Urgency at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.    A … READ MORE

From Race Riots to Rainbow Coalitions and Heatwaves: Chicago Activism on Racial and Economic Justice

It would be foolhardy to try to succinctly sum up the political history of one of America’s most historically politically complicated cities–Chicago–in one sweeping post. Rather, consider this a basic primer of touchstones that connect some key dots, with recommendations for ways to learn more, as you think about the histories presented in two essentially … READ MORE

For Tribal Communities, Battle Over Land Is Nothing New

By Jordan Dresser Sometimes, two people can look out of the same window and see two very different things.  This outlook sprang to my mind while watching Treva Wurmfeld’s Conscience Point, which tells the story of the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s fight to preserve and protect the land they call home in Long Island, New York. Relocated to … READ MORE

Decade of Fire Filmmakers Change the Narrative About the South Bronx

The three-headed team as it were, of co-directors Vivian Vázquez Irizarry and Gretchen Hildebran, and producer Julia Steele Allen, each brought something different and special to the table in the making of the film Decade of Fire, which tells the shocking but untold piece of American urban history, when the South Bronx was on fire … READ MORE

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

Acclaimed Filmmaker David Sutherland Tells the Story of a Family Torn Apart by Deportation

David Sutherland takes his time to tell a story, both in the years he spends with his subject, the amount of footage he shoots, and the ultimate running time — which always feels earned.  His film Country Boys took seven years to bring to fruition as Sutherland returned again and again to the hills of Appalachian … READ MORE

The Challenge of Making a Film About Racist Relics

Filmmaker and teacher Chico Colvard’s first feature doc, Family Affair, premiered at Sundance and was the first film acquired by Oprah Winfrey for her cable channel, OWN. The searingly personal documentary explored his family’s own troubled history that ultimately had a message of forgiveness and resilience. While his new film Black Memorabilia is less personal, it maintains … READ MORE

Three Things About “The King,” with Eugene Jarecki and Steven Soderbergh

Documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki’s pedigree is impressive. He has twice won the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and the Peabody Award for: The House I Live In, his 2013 film about America’s War on Drugs (which had its broadcast premiere on Independent Lens); and for his 2005 film about American foreign policy, Why We Fight. … READ MORE