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TOPIC: Social Justice

The Story of 9to5: A Movement that Changed the American Workplace

Julia Reichert and her filmmaking partner and life partner Steve Bognar, have been making documentaries for a long while. Most recently, in 2020, the team won the Academy Award for American Factory, about the reopening of a shuttered auto factory in Ohio. But their incredible dossier goes back to the 1970s — Julia’s first film, … READ MORE

How Jared Leto and 92 Film Crews Captured 24 Hours in America

In some ways, you’d think Jared Leto, Oscar-winning actor, movie star, and frontman for Platinum-selling band (with his brother Shannon) 30 Seconds to Mars, would not need much of an introduction. But now you can add another hat, with a new, heartfelt project for Leto, which is in some ways as ambitious as anything he’s … READ MORE

Battling a Male-Dominated World for Recognition and a Raise

Filmmaker Yu Gu was born in Chongqing, China, raised in Vancouver, Canada, and found her way to the University of Southern California film program. Her films, like the feature documentary that she co-directed Who is Arthur Chu?, which won two festival grand jury awards and was broadcast on WORLD Channel in 2018, explore intersections between … READ MORE

Filmmaker Exposes Shocking Pattern of Illegal Sterilizations in Women’s Prisons

Erika Cohn has made powerful documentaries for Independent Lens before and is no stranger to telling intimate, surprising stories in tense environments: her Peabody Award-winning film The Judge showed Shari’a law in a new light to Western eyes, through the story of the first-ever female judge in Palestine’s religious courts; and the Utah native filmmaker … READ MORE

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

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

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

“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