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TOPIC: Women & Girls

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

How Three Passionate Candidates Represent Women Shaping the Future

What does “representation” mean in the midst of a historically tense election year?  In her film Represent, filmmaker Hillary Bachelder sought to show the universal struggle to redefine repressive expectations for women in politics with a look at three women running for office in a male-dominated world. Originally from Maine, Bachelder went to Chicago for … 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

“Is Attraction Different in the Absence of Sight?”

By  Kemberlie Spivey Australian-born independent filmmaker Patricia Zagarella has been creating documentaries for over ten years and co-produced the Emmy-award winning documentary Baring It All. That film followed fashion photographer David Jay into the worlds of four young breast cancer survivors, exploring their journeys as they were photographed for the SCAR Project. Patricia made her … READ MORE

The One-Child Policy Legacy on Women and Relationships in China

By Kristal Sotamayor The one-child policy was introduced to China in 1979, written into the national constitution in 1982, and subsequently ended in 2015. Over the 36 years of the policy, entire generations have been marked by the effects of the state’s control on women’s reproductive rights. The films One Child Nation and Leftover Women both … READ MORE

Mush! One Day in the Life of a Dogsledder

By Blair Braverman Writer and dogsled racer Blair Braverman, who spent two summers working as a dogsled guide on a glacier in Alaska, also wrote the acclaimed book Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube, which was a memoir of her childhood and northern adventures that the NY Times called a “stunning and sharp first book”; … READ MORE

“A Scene I’ll Never Forget.” Filmmaker Intimately Captures Surrogacy Journey in Boise

Emmy and Peabody-winning producer/director Beth Aala has gone from a Pool Party (her first film as director) filled with amazing music, the story of how a swimming pool became the center of a music scene in Brooklyn, to co-directing (with actor Mike Myers) Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, a portrayal of a legendary talent agent, to tracking an … READ MORE

Surrogacy Facts and Myths: How Much Do You Know?

By Lennlee Keep In 2018, over 100 children were born in Boise, Idaho, through surrogacy. The story behind this unique baby boom is explored in the Independent Lens documentary Made in Boise, an intimate look at how surrogates and parents are coming together to create new bonds and unique families. Surrogacy is widely misunderstood and … READ MORE

Women of the Space Agency: Once Forbidden, No Longer Hidden

In July of 1999, on Apollo 11’s 30th anniversary, at a Kennedy Space Center press conference, NASA astronaut and first moonwalker Neil Armstrong lamented, “School children used to say, ‘We are reading about you in science class.’ Now they say, ‘We are reading about you in history class.’”  READ MORE

Filmmakers Capture Young Men Wrestling to Succeed and Be Seen

The story of four members of the high school wrestling team at Huntsville’s J.O. Johnson High School–a longstanding entry on Alabama’s list of failing schools–and their tough-love coach coming to terms with his own past, Wrestle is “superb,” wrote Kenneth Turan in the LA Times. “Just as sports mirror society, so do the best sports films not only take us inside games and those who play them but also provide insight into our world and how it works.” He rightly adds, “One reason Wrestle is so effective is that [the directors] and cinematographer Sinisa Kukic made the decision to move to Huntsville for the duration of the shoot. What resulted was not only 650 hours of footage but the benefit of countless additional time spent just hanging out with the protagonists.”

Herbert and co-director Belfer spoke to us about how they came to make this film and that decision to move to Alabama for a long while, as well as how the kids are doing today.  READ MORE