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TOPIC: Education

A Flood of Myths and Stories

By Lennlee Keep We Believe in Dinosaurs is an exploration of the scientific and historical veracity of the Bible and the construction of an authentic likeness of Noah’s Ark in Williamstown, Kentucky.  Known as “The Ark Encounter,” this theme park explores the Judeo-Christian story of the wrath of God, a great flood, and the repopulation … READ MORE

Religion, Science and Belief: Unearthing the Thorny Intersection

Filmmakers Monica Long Ross and Clayton Brown have long been fascinated by how science and culture mix–or don’t mix–in America. In short, that relationship is complicated.  They directed and produced the award-winning documentaries The Atom Smashers (which aired on Independent Lens), which was about the search for the Higgs boson particle, and The Believers, the … READ MORE

Space Scientists of Color, and the “Afronauts”

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 country, yet positive things like opportunity or hope for a better life can draw us towards the unknown. READ MORE

Women of the Space Agency: Once Forbidden, No Longer Hidden

In July of 1999, on Apollo 11’s 30th anniversary, at a Kennedy Space Center press conference, NASA astronaut and first moonwalker Neil Armstrong lamented, “School children used to say, ‘We are reading about you in science class.’ Now they say, ‘We are reading about you in history class.’”  READ MORE

Filmmakers Capture Young Men Wrestling to Succeed and Be Seen

The story 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–and their tough-love coach coming to terms with his own past, Wrestle is “superb,” wrote Kenneth Turan in the LA Times. “Just as sports mirror society, so do the best sports films not only take us inside games and those who play them but also provide insight into our world and how it works.” He rightly adds, “One reason Wrestle is so effective is that [the directors] and cinematographer Sinisa Kukic made the decision to move to Huntsville for the duration of the shoot. What resulted was not only 650 hours of footage but the benefit of countless additional time spent just hanging out with the protagonists.”

Herbert and co-director Belfer spoke to us about how they came to make this film and that decision to move to Alabama for a long while, as well as how the kids are doing today.  READ MORE

High School Coaches Wear Many Hats to Make an Impact

Driving kids home from practice, taking them to visit colleges, running and lifting weights with them out of season, answering the phone in the middle of the night when something has gone wrong — these are just a few of the many roles sports coaches take on for their players. The player/coach relationship can be special, as seen in the film Wrestle, it can be a chance for young people to connect with a mentor who knows them individually and pushes them through their struggles. READ MORE

What “The Wire” Got Right, and Wrong, About Baltimore (and How “Charm City” Fills in the Rest)

By Lee Gardner Baltimoreans who venture beyond the I-695 beltway always know it’s coming. We meet someone from another city, or another country. They find out we’re from Baltimore, and after a suitably polite length of get-to-know-you chat, they bring up the award-winning HBO series The Wire. And really, it’s okay. There are worse things than … READ MORE

Five Questions About Fred Rogers with Morgan Neville

“When I met Joanne Rogers, I told her I wanted to make a film not about Fred Rogers’ story but about his ideas,” filmmaker Morgan Neville wrote about Won’t You Be My Neighbor? “She smiled and said that sounded pretty good, because Fred had always said his own story was the most boring story of all … READ MORE

HBCU Grads Share Their Stories of Campus Life

Graduates of Historic Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are proud alums, and in connection with the Independent Lens film Tell Them We Are Rising, which tells the 170 years—and rising—history of HBCUs, we found a few who were happy to tell their own stories of life on an HBCU campus. These are just a sampling of … READ MORE