New Year’s Resolutions and Goals from the Independent Lens Film Family

December 20, 2019 by Independent Lens in Lifestyle

What are your own resolutions for the New Year? Or your personal hopes, dreams, and goals? We reached out to some members of the Independent Lens family — the directors behind some of our recent films — to ask them just that. Do they have 2020 visions? Read on to find inspiration in what they have planned. 

“My new year’s resolution is to drink more champagne. It’s the only one I ever manage to keep…

“But I’m planning a big shoot this February in India and Thailand for my new documentary film Scrap.  I’m actually here in Bangkok on a scout now. Scrap is an environmental art film about where things like planes, ships, etc. go to die. It will be shot internationally with all kinds of interesting characters.  I’m very excited to be back in production again! So in the new year, I’ll have lots of adventures filming for Scrap and I’m also going to do some shooting for a film I have in development called tough old broads which is about female groundbreakers who are still doing amazing things into their old age. It’s my first archive doc and my first feminist film.

“Should be a super busy year filled with champagne, travel and funding applications!” — Stacey Tenenbaum, director of The Art of the Shine and Pipe Dreams

Director Stacey Tenenbaum at center, with subjects of film The Art of the Shine


“My goals for this year are:  

“Work on hiring more underrepresented voices in the film industry.  

“Advocate for filmmakers to lead the industry.  

“Build better filmmaker infrastructure around myself. 

“Make films on incredibly human stories. Small scale and deep.” — David Byars, director of No Man’s Land

No Man's Land director David Byars
No Man’s Land director David Byars


“My New Year’s resolution is to get my history chops in shape! Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World is now a school curriculum across North America and I got a D in my high school history class!”–Stevie Salas, guitarist, composer, and producer, Rumble (and advisor of contemporary music at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian)

Stevie Salas
Stevie Salas


“Like the residents of Louisiana who we spent so much time with in the making of our film, we are looking forward to embracing that joie de vivre spirit and dancing and singing more in this coming year.” —Chris Metzler, Jeff Springer & Quinn Costello, directors of Rodents of Unusual Size
Rodents of Unusual Size filmmakers Jeff Springer, Chris Metzler, Quinn Costello (l-r)
Rodents of Unusual Size filmmakers Jeff Springer, Chris Metzler, Quinn Costello (l-r)

“Our team at Capital K Pictures is so thrilled to be closing the year out on the heels of our broadcast premiere on Independent Lens.  The feedback’s been great, and it’s given us a really strong calling card and proof of execution for our next project, which touches on some of the same themes, and also builds on the tense, almost thriller-like approach to nonfiction storytelling we brought to The Interpreters

“The new work is based on the book We Want to Negotiate by Joel Simon, the Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and it’s an inside look at the world of kidnapping and ransom. If all goes well, our cameras will be rolling once again in early 2020 as we embark on this new undertaking.  Every project’s an adventure, and we’re very excited to be teaming again with some of our most valued and trusted collaborators, while also getting the chance to work with new faces.”– Sofian Khan, co-director, The Interpreters

Filmmaker Sofian Khan, with camera
Filmmaker Sofian Khan


“I’ve come to realize that the simple act of creation is at times difficult for me so starting in 2020 I’m resolving to produce more content that I feel good about, whether it be one long-form project each year or several small ones each quarter. Next year will be all about doing.”–Sergio Rapu, director, Eating Up Easter


“My New Years’ resolution is to finish a documentary series (Power Trip, coming to PBS) and a screenplay.”-Mat Hames, director, What Was Ours

Wind River Director, Mat Hames, and DP, Wilson Waggoner, film a Northern Arapaho child at the Ethete Powwow.
Filmmaker Mat Hames, far left.


“My goal for 2020 is to stay to true to creating intimate, raw work, offering the kind of authentic experience we are all craving for while somehow also pushing the production value of my filmmaking forward. Iʻm also excited to release a new short film for Firelight Media and American Masters titled This Is the Way We Rise in 2020. The film, part of a new online series called Masters in the Making, features filmmakers of color telling the stories of artists of color on the upswing in their careers. Itʻs an incredible collection of films and makers, and I couldnʻt be more proud to be a part of it.” — Ciara Lacy, director, Out of State

Out of State Filmmaker Ciara Lacy
Filmmaker Ciara Lacy


“At a time when—sadly—bigotry and divisiveness continue to plague us, I find solace in films like Taika Waititi’s JoJo Rabbit, and the chance to watch an unlikely friendship grow out of mindless hate. It’s a film that found a way to go beyond the Holocaust, managing to balance humor and pathos and speak to our common humanity. To quote Taika, it’s an anti-hate film, which is something we desperately need right now.
“And if all else fails I read my husband and producing partner’s Robert Edwards’ blog The King’s Necktie, a progressive view on politics from a former army officer, which inspires me to keep fighting for what we believe in.”–Ferne Pearlstein, director, The Last Laugh [now streaming on Amazon Prime and other retailers] 
The Last Laugh filmmaker Ferne Pearlstein with director/writer/comedian Mel Brooks
The Last Laugh filmmaker Ferne Pearlstein with director/writer/comedian Mel Brooks

Further Reading and Resolving

If you’re looking for more New Year’s inspiration or ideas for just getting through the holidays, we recommend our series of articles on anxiety relief.

Why We Are Playing Board Games More Than Ever

Paperback Throwback: Favorite Comfort Books

Comfort Food Recipes from Independent Lens Family

Pursuit of APP-iness: Can Tech Help Soothe Anxiety?


What are your own resolutions for the new year? Share them with us below! Have a great New Year.

Independent Lens