J.O. Johnson High wrestling coach Chris Scribner works on the mat with two wrestling students
Beyond the Films

May 14, 2019

High School Coaches Wear Many Hats to Make an Impact

Independent Lens in Beyond the Films

By Katrina Schwartz Driving kids home from practice, taking them to visit colleges, running and lifting weights with them out of season, answering the phone in the middle of the…...

Beyond the Films

May 17, 2017

Teachers Beat the “Macho Culture” in Prisons through Art Programs

Chang in Beyond the Films

In the early 2000s, Hollywood invested in the urban fairy tale where a teacher is called into the principal’s office of a school in a low-income, broken part of town…...

Joey McGee walks down a road in the Mojave Desert.

March 17, 2017

Filmmakers Lou Pepe and Keith Fulton Tell Story of At-Risk Youth Getting Last Chance

Craig Phillips in Behind the Films

Filmmakers Lou Pepe and Keith Fulton have gone from the deserts of Spain (for their acclaimed film Lost in La Mancha about Terry Gilliam's ill-fated attempt to make a Don Quixote…...

Black Rock School Principal Vonda Viland gives advice to student Lee, in The Bad Kids
Beyond the Films

March 16, 2017

Principal Vonda Viland and 10 of the Most Unforgettable “Bad Kids”

Independent Lens in Beyond the Films

The following is by Vonda Viland, principal of Black Rock Continuation High School in Yucca Valley in California's Mojave Desert, and subject of the documentary The Bad Kids. Viland's tireless work to…...

Oscar and his prize pupil Jose reunite to give an update on their lives since East of Salinas
Where Are They Now?

December 26, 2015

A Letter from Jose Ansaldo and an Update from Oscar Ramos [UPDATED]

Craig Phillips in Where Are They Now?

UPDATE (3/26/21): We heard great news about East of Salinas star José Ansaldo that we just had to share. José got accepted to U.C. Berkeley! Here's more from Salinas supervisor…...

October 31, 2013

The Graduates: America’s Graduation Report Cards

Craig Phillips in

In conjunction with the broadcast premiere of The Graduates on Independent Lens (part two, the "boys hour," airs Monday November 4 and you can catch part one online on PBS), we…...

October 28, 2013

The Graduates: Where Are the Girls Now?

Craig Phillips in Where Are They Now?

After watching The Graduates (Los Graduados) [airing on PBS in two parts, tonight October 28 and November 4], you — like those of us here at Independent Lens — will no doubt be curious as to…...

October 25, 2013

“I’m Graduating/I Graduated Because…”

Craig Phillips in Uncategorized

The Graduates/Los Graduados offers a first-hand perspective of the challenges facing many Latino high school students. While you'll be hearing from the six students in the film itself (which premieres…...

psy in gangham style video

October 16, 2013

American Graduate Shorts: Skipping Up

Craig Phillips in

Last, but certainly not least, in our mini-festival of American Graduate short films, is Skipping Up, directed by Jim Mendiola and Faith Radle. Set primarily in Mark Twain Middle School in…...

October 15, 2013

American Graduate Shorts: Immigrant High

Craig Phillips in

Our American Graduate short film festival continues with Immigrant High, a film by Xochitl Dorsey. [Go here for more on the American Graduate films.] Immigrant teens find face discrimination, language barriers,…...

October 14, 2013

American Graduate Shorts: I Really Want to Make It

Craig Phillips in

We continue our look at the American Graduate shorts with I Really Want to Make It, a film by Ray Telles and Angela Reginato. Sharon Montano of Oakland decides to go back to school…...

October 11, 2013

American Graduate Shorts: Can’t Hold Me Back

Craig Phillips in

Our "mini-festival" of American Graduate shorts continues with Can't Hold Me Back, directed by Betty Bastidas and Madeleine Bair. Detroit teen Fernando Parraz, an accomplished rapper and budding filmmaker, aims to…...