an abstract shot of John Coltrane playing sax, as if through water
Beyond the Films

October 31, 2017

Chasing Trane Playlist: Coltrane and His Disciples

Independent Lens in Beyond the Films

By Nick Dedina, Guest Contributor Drop a needle on a John Coltrane record, hit play on one of his digital playlists, or watch Chasing Trane and it’s easy to understand…...

Joe Stevens and his band Coyote Grace, on stage (courtesy the film Real Boy)
Beyond the Films

June 09, 2017

12 Trans Musicians Carving Their Own Identities

Craig Phillips in Beyond the Films

Real Boy is the portrait of Bennett, who is undergoing gender reassignment surgery, and his mom's struggle to process the change, but it's also the portrait of a young musician…...

1966 Dodge Monaco Dashboard and Radio
Beyond the Films

February 13, 2017

TOWER Playlist: 1966 Music Soundscape

Independent Lens in Beyond the Films

Pure and simple, 1966 was considered by many critics as one of the greatest years for popular music ever [see the Guardian’s “Was 1966 pop music greatest’s year?” and the…...

Meet the Patels animation capturing Ravi Patel and family waiting at airport while he's dumbstruck; for the Independent Lens love quiz
Test Your Knowledge

December 20, 2016

Meet the Patels on PBS Presents a Love Quiz!

Independent Lens in Test Your Knowledge

Keeping with the "looking for love" theme of Meet the Patels, which makes its television debut on Independent Lens Monday, December 26, 2017 at 9 pm, we present you with a…...

Crowd of protestors cheer.

February 09, 2016

The Black Panthers Pandora Mixtape

Craig Phillips in Lists

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution aired on Independent Lens and you can plug in, turn on, and get down with our curated Pandora Mixtape. The set joins the politically…...

African American sound recorder on the streets

August 11, 2015

Black Power Playlist: Music is the Message

Independent Lens in Lists

The soundtrack to America’s civil rights movement before the mid-1960s was predominantly made up of gospel standards and spirituals, with a smattering of popular folk. But by the late 1960s,…...

Filmmaker Penelope Spheeris surrounded by Poison (the band), in Decline of Western Civilization III the Metal Years

June 30, 2015

Penelope Spheeris’ Decline of Western Civilization Rises Again

Craig Phillips in

Editor's note: While these aren't Independent Lens films of course, the Decline films are some of our very favorite music docs, make for perfect summertime viewing, and are finally all out together…...

Drawing representing Hawaiian mahu, or third gender.
Beyond the Films

April 30, 2015

Hawaiian Music: More Than Just Hula (But Also Hula)

Craig Phillips in Lists

[caption id="attachment_6841" align="alignnone" width="600"] Hina performing with some of her students, from Kumu Hina[/caption] In tandem with the PBS film Kumu Hina, we created this Spotify playlist compiling some of the greatest…...

June 19, 2014

Rest in Peace, Jimmy Scott

Craig Phillips in

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="550"] Jimmy Scott, at a jazz club in NYC, 2004[/caption] Jazz vocalist Jimmy Scott, the subject of the Independent Lens documentary (and 2004 IL Audience Award Winner) Jimmy Scott: If…...

Filmmaker Freddy Camelier with Muscle Shoals luminaries.

April 21, 2014

Freddy Camalier Finds FAME at Muscle Shoals

Craig Phillips in Uncategorized

"Only the genre's most studious followers will be able to watch Muscle Shoals without being regularly astonished...Greg "Freddy" Camalier's documentary tells an extraordinary story."  — NPR's Mark Jenkins Muscle Shoals, which…...

Clarence Carter sings into mic at Muscle Shoals studios.

April 18, 2014

A Musical Journey Through Muscle Shoals

Craig Phillips in Uncategorized

The word “magic” is mentioned a lot in Muscle Shoals, a mesmerizing documentary that tries to explain, or at least place in context, the extraordinary success of FAME (founded by…...

April 07, 2014

Meet the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Craig Phillips in Behind the Films

Enjoy this collection of additional videos and links to check out more from the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, who are the center of Reuben Atlas's new Independent Lens documentary Brothers Hypnotic,…...