Ellis Haizlip on the set of SOUL! withEllis Haizlip on the set of SOUL! with the band Mandrill the band Mandrill; Photo by Alex Harsley
Beyond the Films

February 17, 2021

Listen Up: How Music Was the Heart of SOUL!

Independent Lens in Beyond the Films

by Nick Dedina Today we take it for granted that Black culture is mainstream American culture. But, before the age of hip-hop, cable TV, the internet, streaming, and mobile phones,…...

Dolly Parton, 1977 (public domain image, RCA Records)
Beyond the Films

January 27, 2021

Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” Still Packs a Punch

Independent Lens in Beyond the Films

By Lennlee Keep There isn't much the whole world seems to agree on, but I have yet to meet a person who doesn't love Dolly Parton. She's funny, glamorous, famous,…...

huge Pipe Organ in Montreal church
Beyond the Films

June 17, 2020

Six Unusual Instruments and How They Work

Independent Lens in Beyond the Films

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…...


June 17, 2020

Young Musicians Play Ancient Instrument in the “Olympics of the Pipe Organ”

Craig Phillips in Behind the Films

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…...

Singer Billie Holiday
Beyond the Films

February 19, 2020

Billie Holiday’s Searing “Strange Fruit” Still Has the Power to Startle

Independent Lens in Beyond the Films

By Nick Dedina There are often false narratives we tell ourselves so that we can simplify, and beautify, the past and erase aspects of the present that we are uncomfortable…...

Ulali (Charly Lowry, Pura Fe, Layla Locklear, Jennifer Kreisberg) Photo by David MacLeod

January 03, 2019

RUMBLE On: More Native American Musicians You Should Know

Independent Lens in Beyond the Films

by Gregg McVicar, Host and producer of UnderCurrents on Native Voice One Rock and roll was born in the United States, and it makes sense that some of its forerunners…...

Shahin Najafi in a public performance, from When God Sleeps
Beyond the Films

March 30, 2018

Censored Iranian Artists, Poets and Musicians Threatened with Exile

Independent Lens in Beyond the Films

[Note: Please enjoy this guest essay on Iranian artists and censorships, in conjunction with the broadcast premiere of When God Sleeps, by artist and game creator Kurosh ValaNejad. See more…...

Shahin Najafi resting before concert, in ultraviolet light

March 28, 2018

Filmmaker Till Schauder Had Many Sleepless Nights Telling Shahin Najafi’s Story

Craig Phillips in Interviews

The German-born, New York-based filmmaker Till Schauder's previous film The Iran Job was about an American basketball player who went with great trepidation to play professionally in Iran, a winning…...

Musician/Composer Dan Deacon performing; photo by Adam Boaz
Beyond the Films

February 16, 2018

10 Questions with “Rat Film” Composer Dan Deacon: On Baltimore, Rats, Player Pianos and Theremins

Craig Phillips in Beyond the Films

Baltimore-based composer/musician Dan Deacon did the music for Theo Anthony's Rat Film. The film, which uses the urban rat as a way to explore a deeper story of urbanization and…...

Miriam Makeba (r) with Dizzy Gillespie in France 1991
Beyond the Films

January 30, 2018

For “Winnie”: Anti-Apartheid Songs of Protest

Independent Lens in Beyond the Films

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1280"] Miriam Makeba and Dizzy Gillespie, 1991[/caption] By Sarah Bardeen, guest contributor Modern South Africa was forged in apartheid. The struggle defined life for generations of South…...

Rick Hall stands on a hillside in Muscle Shoals.

January 03, 2018

Muscle Shoals’ Rick Hall Passes Away

Craig Phillips in Announcements

Sad news to report, that Rick Hall, the star of the Independent Lens film Muscle Shoals, has died at the age of 85 after a long illness. The Fame Studios founder,…...

John Coltrane in concert; credit: Don Schlitten

October 31, 2017

Filmmaker John Scheinfeld Chases Coltrane’s Legacy

Craig Phillips in Interviews

Filmmaker John Scheinfeld is no stranger to taking on challenging subjects for documentaries. The Emmy®, Grammy® and Writers Guild Award nominee and writer/director/producer's other films include The U.S. vs. John Lennon,…...