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CATEGORY: Behind the Films

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

Sasha Joseph Neulinger Confronts Family Trauma Head-On

It’s been a pretty impressive run for what was someone’s very first feature documentary. But then again, Rewind is no ordinary first film. After Sasha Joseph Neulinger finished film school at Montana State University, he discovered the raw materials that would propel him to tell the extraordinary story of his life. A very candid autobiographical … READ MORE

Filmmaker Asks New Yorkers, What Does the Future Look Like?

Toronto-based filmmaker Brett Story, whose previous film The Prison in Twelve Landscapes aired on Independent Lens in 2017, holds a PhD in geography and her unconventional storytelling style reflects both a geographer’s exploring eye and a listener’s empathetic ear. She approaches the interviews in The Hottest August as a way to learn from people and … 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

Filmmaker Explores First Steps Toward Justice and Reconciliation

Independent filmmaker Jacqueline Olive, who has worked in non-fiction filmmaking for years and co-directed and co-produced the award-winning hour-long documentary, Black to Our Roots (PBS WORLD), makes her feature documentary directing debut with the searing Always in Season, which was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Moral Urgency at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.    A … READ MORE

Filmmaker Accepts the Call to Tell Story of a Father and Son Divided

Filmmaker Eunice Lau, who is originally from Singapore (and boy does she have a story to tell you here about the experience of showing her film back home), was once a journalist at Al Jazeera Network. She has a penchant for telling stories concerning social justice, from dowry-killing in Bangladesh to uncovering corruption in Sarawak … READ MORE

Still Mushing: An Update from Joe, George Attla’s Grandnephew

We are pleased that we could get Joe Bifelt, the grandnephew of legendary dogsled racer George Attla, to send us an update on his life since the film about George’s life, ATTLA, ended. George may have technically been Joe’s great uncle but as you’ll see here he considers George another grandfather, and despite George’s passing, … 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

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