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TOPIC: Poverty

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

In Opulent Hamptons Filmmaker Asks, Whose Land Is it Anyway?

Treva Wurmfeld was named one Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film a few years back and made her mark first with her festival award-winning film Shepard and Dark about iconic American playwright Sam Shepard’s lifelong friendship with reclusive writer and archivist Johnny Dark. She’s worked on films with Hollywood director Doug Liman and studied … READ MORE

How the Burning of the Bronx Led to the Birth of Hip-Hop

Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, a geographer and writer who co-edited, with Rebecca Solnit, the remarkable, fascinating book Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas, helped us create a playlist to accompany both Decade of Fire and a key map in his book: “Burning Down and Rising Up: The Bronx in the 1970s.” That map puts a geographic spin on … 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

Filmmaker Follows Incarcerated Native Hawaiians Discovering Their Indigenous Traditions

Native Hawaiian filmmaker Ciara Lacy has had her work aired on PBS, ABC, TLC, Discovery, Bravo and A&E, and was an inaugural Sundance Institute Merata Mita Fellow for Indigenous Artists. A graduate of Yale and Hawai’i’s Kamehameha Schools, Lacy’s first documentary short, shot for the Guardian Online, chronicled a unique homeless encampment in Hawai’i and yielded over … 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

New Efforts to Improve Rural Healthcare Crisis

By Suzanne Gordon The three caregivers we meet in The Providers face daunting challenges as they try to deliver medical and mental healthcare to patients in rural New Mexico. Sadly, their struggles are reproduced all over America because for decades the nation has failed to address the problem of delivering healthcare outside of urban and … READ MORE

How a Lifelong Fascination with Medicine Turned into a Film About the Rural Healthcare Crisis

[UPDATED April 6, 2019: We reached out to filmmakers Laura Green and Anna Moot-Levin to gather their thoughts on why they titled their film The Providers.] The filmmaking team behind the Independent Lens documentary The Providers live on opposite coasts from each other — Laura Green in San Francisco, Anna Moot-Levin in Brooklyn — but they came … 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