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TOPIC: Labor

Parenting and Making Docs During a Pandemic? It’s a Juggling Act

By Ivonne Spinoza “Producing films often translates to putting out fires before they start, so I suppose this gets you ready for parenting in a pandemic, generally speaking, but did I feel prepared for the reality of 2020? That’s a hard no.”—Nico Opper COVID has revealed and intensified all kinds of challenges in our lives … READ MORE

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

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

Harvest Season’s Historical Roots: Latinos in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys

Harvest Season serves as a reminder that agriculture is notoriously sensitive to the ebb and flow of external forces — natural disasters, economic movements, and political change. Filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz artfully depicts the Sonoma and Napa wine industry as a modern microcosm for this ever-changing delicate balance. But the small-scale cycles presented in Harvest Season naturally beg a historical question. What past iterations of turmoil brought the winemaking industry in Sonoma and Napa to where it is today?

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Bernardo Ruiz Tells Story of the Central Role Latinos Play in California Wine Industry

Two-time Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz, who was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and grew up in Brooklyn, made his directorial feature debut with the PBS film Reportero, about attacks on the press in Mexico, which New York Magazine called “a powerful reminder of how journalism often requires immense amounts of physical and psychological bravery.” He’s followed that up with … READ MORE

Independent Lens Wins Two 2018 Peabody Awards

Independent Lens is proud to announce that two of the series’ films —Dolores and The Judge — have won 2018 Peabody Awards in the Documentary category. The oldest and most prestigious award for electronic media, honoring the “most powerful, enlightening and invigorating stories in television, radio and digital media,” the Peabody Awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, … 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

Director Explores Live Streaming Revolution and How Technology Affects Human Happiness

Technology executive-turned-filmmaker Hao Wu takes a raw and human approach to storytelling in an era when culture evolves online, and for his very first feature film, People’s Republic of Desire Wu won a SXSW Film Festival Grand Jury Prize–pretty impressive for a self-taught filmmaker. He expertly tells a real-life Black Mirror-esque tale that is, wrote … READ MORE

Is This Real Life: The Live Streaming Craze Explained

By Siyi Chen When my dad, a small businessman from Southeast China, asked me, his social media-savvy daughter, how to utilize the internet to help sell his agricultural products, the first thing that came to mind was live streaming. “It’s kind of like the TV shopping channels you watch,” I tried to explain to him, … READ MORE

Elvis and the Death of the American Dream, Through Movies

Elvis Presley is ostensibly the subject of The King, Eugene Jarecki’s expansive road movie of a documentary. The award-winning director drives Presley’s 1963 Rolls-Royce across the US, from Mississippi and Memphis to Nashville, New York, Las Vegas, Hollywood, and elsewhere, talking to historians, musicians, members of Presley’s inner circle, and everyday Americans. Elvis centers the … READ MORE

Independent Lens Film “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” Honored with Oscar Nomination

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced the nominations for the 91st Oscars and Independent Lens was elated that Hale County This Morning, This Evening received a nomination for Best Feature Documentary. RaMell Ross‘s critically acclaimed film, “made modestly and intimately,” wrote Richard Brody in The New Yorker, the film “embodies a … READ MORE

Director Duo Show No Easy Answers in Fight Over Land

The team behind the new Independent Lens film My Country No More, Rita Baghdadi and Jeremiah Hammerling, told us they were drawn to Hammerling’s native North Dakota to make this film “because his hometown, as well as much of rural America, was changing rapidly and we wanted to document those changes. And we also wanted to explore the importance … READ MORE