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TOPIC: Identity

Honor Hispanic Heritage Month with Eight Unique Documentaries

By Lola Méndez Hispanic Heritage Month has been honored annually in the United States since 1968 when President Lyndon Johnson first launched it as Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded the celebration to last the four weeks from September 15th to October 15th. Hispanic Heritage Month commemorates the histories, cultures, and contributions … READ MORE

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

“Your Vote Is Your Voice”: Best Films About Voting Rights

The right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights in a Democracy, and yet who has been allowed to vote in America has been a battle that’s been bitterly waged for decades.  Two new documentaries; John Lewis: Good Trouble, about the legendary Civil Rights activist and Congressman; and American Experience’s two-part series The … READ MORE

Young Musicians Play Ancient Instrument in the “Olympics of the Pipe Organ”

The Montreal-based filmmaker Stacey Tenenbaum‘s joyful film The Art of the Shine, which aired on PBS, took the director all over the world, from New York to Toronto, Paris to La Paz, Bolivia, to look at the forgotten profession of shoe shining. Now with her film Pipe Dreams, she brings the world to her hometown, … READ MORE

Hale County This Morning, This Evening Wins Peabody Award

The Peabody Awards announced that the Independent Lens film Hale County This Morning, This Evening was honored with a Peabody in the Documentary category.  We extend our heartiest congratulations to filmmaker RaMell Ross on this achievement. Hale County This Morning, This Evening is the 23rd Independent Lens film to be honored with a Peabody.

Filmmakers Show the World the Real Easter Island, a Wakeup Call with Hope

Sergio Mata’u Rapu has spent the last 15 years shooting and producing documentaries that have aired on History Channel, Travel Channel, National Geographic, and NOVA. Based in Minnesota, a very long way from the remote southeastern Pacific, he’s also likely the only native of Rapa Nui (or Easter Island) producing documentaries in an English-speaking country. … READ MORE

Sasha Joseph Neulinger Confronts Family Trauma Head-On

It’s been a pretty impressive run for what was someone’s very first feature documentary. But then again, Rewind is no ordinary first film. After Sasha Joseph Neulinger finished film school at Montana State University, he discovered the raw materials that would propel him to tell the extraordinary story of his life. A very candid autobiographical … READ MORE

Filmmaker Asks New Yorkers, What Does the Future Look Like?

Toronto-based filmmaker Brett Story, whose previous film The Prison in Twelve Landscapes aired on Independent Lens in 2017, holds a PhD in geography and her unconventional storytelling style reflects both a geographer’s exploring eye and a listener’s empathetic ear. She approaches the interviews in The Hottest August as a way to learn from people and … READ MORE

Rural Perspective on Mental Health Care in a Time of Crisis

by Rooney Elmi Kenneth Paul Rosenberg MD’s Bedlam profiles of one of the most pervasive and stigmatized public health crises: mental illness. Taking its titular inspiration from the infamous English “madhouse” founded in the 13th Century (and inspiring Rosenberg’s book of the same name), Bedlam mixes archival footage of psychiatric hospitals, emergency rooms, protest demonstrations, … READ MORE