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TOPIC: Human Rights

The Evolution of Disability in Film: After the Accolades, the Work Continues

By Lawrence Carter-Long Once upon a time, disability was just a diagnosis. Through time, the word has evolved to encompass larger more expansive concepts like community, identity, and culture. In 2020—thirty years after passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act—anyone who still thinks of disability solely as a medical issue might not realize it but … READ MORE

“My Family’s Tragedy Is an American Tragedy”: Bedlam Filmmaker’s Journey to Depict Mental Health Crisis

In his film Bedlam, Kenneth Paul Rosenberg, MD follows the lives of three patients who find themselves with a chronic lack of institutional support, while he also weaves in his own story of how the system failed his late sister, Merle, and her battle with schizophrenia. As Rosenberg wrote in a powerful op-ed for the … READ MORE

Peer Support and the Complexity of Mental Health

By Lennlee Keep The film Bedlam explores mental illness from the perspectives of physicians, politicians, parents, and patients themselves. The power of documentary film is that it generates conversations about more than what is on the screen. After I watched Bedlam the first time, I wanted to watch it again with my friend “Pete.” [We … READ MORE

This Couple Finds Answers for Adopted Daughters From China

Brian and Long Lan Stuy are a Utah couple who have adopted three daughters from China: Meikina from DianBai, Meigon from Guangzhou, and Meilan from Luoyang. After discovering that documentation for one of their adopted children was fake, Brian and his wife created their home-based company Research-China, with the mission of reuniting adopted children with … READ MORE

Nanfu Wang’s Riveting Personal Story Probes Impact of One-Child Policy

Taking risks is nothing new for Chinese filmmaker Nanfu Wang. Her previous documentary I Am Another You, which was a SXSW Jury Award-winner and aired on Independent Lens, involved her having to live on the streets with the homeless subject of her film, and prior to that she became a target of the Chinese government … READ MORE

How “Cooked” Evolved into an Investigation of the Disaster Underlying a Disaster

Documentary filmmaker Judith Helfand is best known for her ability to take the dark worlds of chemical exposure, heedless corporate behavior and environmental injustice and make them personal, highly-charged and entertaining. Her films include The Uprising of ‘34, the Sundance award-winning and 2x Emmy-nominated Blue Vinyl (about the health hazards of vinyl), its Peabody Award-winning prequel A Healthy … 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

Following the Journey of Interpreters We Left Behind

Filmmakers Andrés Caballero and Sofian Khan‘s previous feature-length collaboration Gaucho del Norte, which made its broadcast premiere on public television’s America ReFramed series, followed the journey of a Patagonian immigrant sheepherder recruited to work in the American West. With The Interpreters, the duo took a different journey to capture a riskier immigration experience, the story of how Afghan and Iraqi … READ MORE

An Update from Elizabeth Perez

Note: Elizabeth Perez, star of David Sutherland’s film Marcos Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (a co-presentation of Independent Lens, FRONTLINE, and Voces), wrote us a heartfelt update about how she, her husband Marcos, and their family are doing. Here’s Elizabeth with more: I guess it’s kind of like a journal. I hope it’s not too long. … READ MORE

Erika Cohn Unfolds a New Perception of Shari’a Law in Portrait of Remarkable Woman

Erika Cohn, who co-directed (with Tony Vainuku) the Emmy Award-winning Independent Lens doc In Football We Trust, went from the gridiron in Utah to the Shari’a courts of Palestine for her follow-up film The Judge, the story of the first-ever female judge in Palestine’s religious courts. The film is “a welcome femme-empowered portrait of an inspirational female … READ MORE