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

From Kilroy to Pepe: A Brief History of Memes

By Lennlee Keep What do Pepe the Frog, the Spanish Inquisition, the blinking guy, the French Revolution, concern for the environment, and the Third Reich all have in common? These are all ideas that spread until they became pervasive throughout a culture or country. According to evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, they are also all cultural … READ MORE

Independent Lens Fall Season Has 2020 Vision

The upcoming slate of films airing on Independent Lens on PBS this fall is just one part of an incredible season coming up that will last through the Spring in epic fashion. The fall documentary will be extremely timely, covering everything from how art and internet memes can get hijacked for political extremism to the … READ MORE

Comfort Viewing: What Filmmakers and Writers Are Watching to Get Through It

What are YOU watching to provide comfort during these trying times? Filmmakers, artists, critics and writers chimed in with their personal favorite shows and films to watch when in dire need of checking out and calming down, which, let’s face it, is pretty commonly needed these days.  See what they came up with below.

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 Science of Kindness: It’s Not Easy Being Nice

Author Josh Kurz is a science communicator and filmmaker, and the co-creator of the audio program Shabam, which uses a zombie apocalypse to talk about real science. By Josh Kurz You might know someone like “Scott.” Fun at parties, has passionate opinions about a wide range of topics; space travel, the Mayan calendar, twerking. But … 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

And the Winner of the 2019-2020 Audience Award is… (UPDATED)

Update (7/9): With voting now closed and a total of 13,331 votes, we are thrilled to announce the winner of the Independent Lens Audience Award: Decade of Fire Congrats to filmmakers Vivian Vázquez Irizarry, Gretchen Hildebran and Julia Steele Allen, and producer Neyda Martinez, on their win. And kudos to all of the films that … READ MORE

Six Unusual Instruments and How They Work

By Ade D. Adeniji Stacy Tenenbaum’s film Pipe Dreams features four young organ players competing in the prestigious Canadian International Organ Competition, held every few years in Montreal. What’s striking is that each musician has a completely different approach to playing the quirky instrument; Nick Capozzoli is all about playing obscure modern music, whereas Alcee … 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