Edie Falco to Host New Season of PBS's Emmy Award-Winning Series Independent Lens

Season Premieres on October 11 with PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC: One Nation Under A Groove

CONTACT Mary Lugo770/623-8190lugo@negia.net Cara White843/881-1480carapub@aol.com 

Randall Cole415/356-8383 x254randall_cole@itvs.org 

Desiree Gutierrez415/356-8383 x244desiree_gutierrez@itvs.org 

Series Web site: www.pbs.org/independentlens 

(San Francisco) The Independent Television Service (ITVS) announced today that Edie Falco, Emmy Award-winning star of The Sopranos, will be the host of the 2005–2006 season of the critically acclaimed Tuesday night PBS series Independent Lens. 

“I'm thrilled to be hosting Independent Lens because I'm a fan. Every week, this series illustrates the importance of PBS. It's essential that there is a place on TV where we can see films that explore important issues and introduce us to exceptional people and unique stories,” Falco said. 

Falco follows in the footsteps of past series hosts Angela Bassett, Don Cheadle and Susan Sarandon. Series Producer & Co-curator of Independent Lens, Lois Vossen said, “I can't think of anyone we'd rather have as our host. Not only is Edie one of the most honored actresses on TV, loved by both critics and viewers, she's also an actress who has always been committed to taking chances artistically, whether it's on stage or in the films of such maverick directors as Hal Hartley, Abel Ferrara or John Sayles. She's been a passionate advocate for true independent filmmaking, a spirit embodied every week on Independent Lens.” 

The 2004–2005 season of Independent Lens was a knockout, with unprecedented attention from the press, audiences and stations alike. “We have received two Best Documentary Emmy Nominations, for AFGHANISTAN UNVEILED and THE DAY MY GOD DIED, which we aired last season. I think it proves Independent Lens is the place to go for unique and important stories,” Vossen said. This season of Independent Lens features another great lineup of independent documentaries and features. 

The fall season premieres on October 11th with the broadcast of Yvonne Smith's portrait of funk legend George Clinton, PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC: One Nation Under a Groove, in conjunction with the release of Clinton's latest CD and a national tour. 

Continuing ongoing effort to showcase more documentaries that explore international issues, the Independent Lens fall slate includes SEOUL TRAIN, a gripping expose of the secret underground railroad that helps North Koreans trying to escape their country; EN ROUTE TO BAGHDAD, about the life and death of UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello; and MIRROR DANCE, which profiles twin ballerinas with the National Ballet of Cuba whose relationship disintegrated when one sister left for America while the other embraced the Revolution. Coming in the spring are THE DEVIL'S MINER, the story of two Bolivian boys who toil in the Cerro Rico silver mines, braving deadly conditions to earn enough money to attend school, and LA SIERRA, about the lives of Colombian youth caught up in an urban civil war. 

Other highlights of the fall season are RACE IS THE PLACE, a funny, angry and insightful visual and verbal riff on race in America from the point of view of a wide variety of artists, poets, rappers, performance artists and stand-up comedians; MAID IN AMERICA, a profile of three immigrant women who work in Los Angeles as domestics; A FAMILY AT WAR, a poignant film about an American military family coping with the death of their son in Iraq; and THE LAST COWBOY, a profile of a South Dakota cowboy struggling to survive changing times, filmed over the course of 23 years. 

Many of our upcoming films explore issues relevant to women and girls. GIRL TROUBLE follows the lives of a group of young women who have been caught up in the juvenile justice system and are now running their own organization for at-risk girls. TROOP 1500 spotlights a unique Texas Girl Scout troop that unites daughters with mothers in prison. TAKING THE HEAT profiles Brenda Berkman, who in 1982 won a landmark lawsuit against the City of New York, making it possible for women to join the fire department. SISTERS: Portrait of a Benedictine Community, takes viewers inside a Minnesota monastery to illustrate the changing world of nuns in America. 

Independent Lens will also explore the issue of civil rights in American life. JULY ‘64 looks back to the summer of 1964, when a three-night riot erupted in two predominantly black neighborhoods in downtown Rochester, New York. NEGROES WITH GUNS: Rob Williams and Black Power profiles the fascinating but largely unknown Robert Williams. Credited with inspiring the Black Power movement, Williams, an Army veteran, urged his North Carolina neighbors to defend themselves with arms against the Ku Klux Klan and racist intimidation. TRUDELL profiles Native American activist and poet John Trudell who fuses his radical politics with music, writing and art. Gay rights are explored in THE GREAT PINK SCARE, which tells the story of a renowned Smith College professor who, in 1960, became the sudden target of a witch-hunt when a controversial police raid uncovered homoerotic magazines in his home. Also airing this season is WAITING TO INHALE, an investigation into the political controversy surrounding the use of medical marijuana. 

We're pleased to announce that Independent Lens will host the broadcast premiere of LEAGUE OF ORDINARY GENTLEMEN, the much-praised documentary about the world of professional bowlers. Also in the lineup is FROZEN ANGELS, the acclaimed Sundance documentary that presents the future of human reproduction, available now in Los Angeles. Another festival favorite, THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN, is a warm and funny profile of eccentric farmer John Peterson as he struggles to keep alive the family farm, triumphing against the odds by turning the losing proposition into a thriving and progressive community. 

Other highlights include ALMOST HOME, an inspiring film about a nursing home in Milwaukee that is implementing a revolutionary approach to the challenge of making a nursing home feel like “home;” THE LOSS OF NAMELESS THINGS, a haunting film about Oakley Hall III, a charismatic 1960s playwright whose brilliant career was stalled after a mysterious fall from a bridge; MUSIC FROM THE INSIDE OUT, about the art and lives of members of the Philadelphia Orchestra; SHERIFF, a cinema verite look at a North Carolina lawman; and our annual end-of-the-year short film festival, SHORT STACK: Lost and Found. Rounding out the season, we will feature two half-hour narrative films FISHBOWL and AMERICAN MADE in celebration of Asian-American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 

As we did in Spring 2004 with the acclaimed miniseries THE NEW AMERICANS, Independent Lens will present a special four-hour miniseries this season, Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar's A LION IN THE HOUSE. Following five children as they fight cancer with the help of their families, nurses and doctors, this inspiring, harrowing and intimate series spans six years, chronicling how families respond to crises, how courage is found in unlikely places and how the humor and energy of youth can be powerful medicine. 

More complete info on the fall schedule follows. Please feel free to call for info, art or screeners. 

Independent Lens — Fall 2005 

October 11 at 10 PM PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC: One Nation Under a Grove Yvonne Smith Find out how George Clinton, mastermind behind the band Parliament Funkadelic, expressed the cultural alienation of young African Americans, creating an alternate universe of “aliens” that brought the redemptive power of funk to a world sorely in need of a new point of view. 

October 18 at 10:30 PM EN ROUTE TO BAGHDAD Simone Duarte Prior to his death in a Baghdad bombing attack in 2003, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello devoted his life to global humanitarian efforts in countries such as Mozambique, Cambodia and East Timor. EN ROUTE TO BAGHDAD is a portrait of Vieira de Mello and his extraordinary career. 

October 25 at 10 PM THE LAST COWBOY Jon Alpert Vernon Sager is a cowboy struggling to survive in Porcupine, South Dakota, in this story of real cowboys and Indians living in the middle of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Filmed over the course of 23 years, THE LAST COWBOY is the real-deal Rawhide, the story of a man fighting to preserve a vanishing way of life. 

November 8 at 10 PM A FAMILY AT WAR Jorgen Flindt Pedersen When one American family loses their son in the Iraq war, their lives—and views—are irrevocably changed. In A FAMILY AT WAR, Danish filmmakers follow the Kaylor family over the course of a year as they wrestle differently with their grief, tracing their reactions and changing attitudes on the military and the war. 

November 15 at 10:30 PM MIRROR DANCE Frances McElroy and Maria T. Rodriguez Identical twins Margarita and Ramona de Saá became acclaimed ballerinas with the National Ballet of Cuba. Once inseparable, their relationship disintegrated as one sister left for America while the other embraced the Cuban Revolution. MIRROR DANCE is the story of two women forever linked by birth and dance, but struggling to overcome rifts not only between sisters but also between nations. 

November 22 at 10 PM RACE IS THE PLACE Rick Tejada-Flores and Ray Telles Funny, angry and profound, RACE IS THE PLACE is a one-hour visual and verbal riff on race in America from the point of view of a wide variety of artists, poets, rappers, performance artists and stand-up comedians. From a hilarious bit by comic Ahmed Ahmed on the “joys” of flying as an Arab American to Puerto Rican slam champ Mayda del Valle, from Hawaiian poet Haunani-Kay Trask to Kate Rigg's funny and explosive diatribe against the stereotyping of Asian American women, RACE IS THE PLACE yanks off the muzzle of political correctness to speak the often ugly truths that lie beneath the rosy talk of “multiculturalism” and “diversity.” 

November 29 at 10 PM MAID IN AMERICA Anayansi Prado As three of the thousands of Latina immigrants working as nannies and housekeepers in Los Angeles, Judith, Telma and Eva have all left family and friends behind to come to America. MAID IN AMERICA reveals the challenges these women face as they pursue the American Dream, their significant roles in American households and the globalization of motherhood. 

December 13 at 10 PM SEOUL TRAIN Lisa Sleeth and Jim Butterworth A growing and potentially explosive humanitarian crisis is threatening East Asian peace: the life and death of North Koreans as they try to escape their homeland and China. SEOUL TRAIN exposes the complex geopolitics and bureaucracy entangling the lives of thousands of North Korean refugees, as well as the story of activists who put themselves in harms way to offer help via an underground railroad. 

December 20 at 10 PM SISTERS: Portrait of a Benedictine Community John Hanson, Jack Lind and Tom Livingston Shot over two years, SISTERS follows the lives of the women of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. The story is told by the Sisters themselves—at work, prayer and leisure—as they pursue a balanced life based on the Rule of St. Benedict and face an uncertain future with spirit, conviction and wit. 

December 27 at 10PM SHORT STACK: Lost and Found Christopher Newberry, Shira Avni, Dong Hyeuk Hwang, Keith Bearden and Angelique Midthunder They don't make “buddy movies” like this in Hollywood. Independent Lens presents five short films that focus on a pivotal moment in a friendship: AGORA, by Christopher Newberry; JOHN AND MICHAEL by Shira Avni; MIRACLE MILE by Dong Hyeuk Hwang; THE RAFTSMAN'S RAZOR by Keith Bearden; and RESERVATION WARPARTIES by Angelique Midthunder. 


Edie Falco, host of the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, became the only actress to ever receive the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Dramatic Series, the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Dramatic Television Series and the Screen Actor's Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama, all in the same year for her performance as Carmela Soprano in the debut season of the groundbreaking HBO series The Sopranos. She has subsequently been nominated for each award for each eligible television season, winning additional Emmy and Golden Globe Awards, as well as the American Film Institute's award for Female Television Actor of the Year. When Falco received the Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Drama, it was the first time in the history of the TCA that the award was presented to a woman. 

Falco is also known to television audiences from her recurring roles in the HBO dramatic series Oz and the acclaimed NBC series Law and Order and Homicide. She made her Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning play Sideman, which she originated in its off-Broadway production. For her performance, she received a Theatre World Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination for the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play. She went on to make her London stage debut in the West End premiere of Sideman, and soon after opened the London production of The Vagina Monologues. When Falco starred opposite Stanley Tucci in the lauded revival of Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune, the play broke four house box office records at Broadway's Belasco Theatre, making it the most successful play on Broadway all season. 

For the feature film Cost of Living, Falco received the American Film Institute's Best Actress Award. Her performance in the film Laws of Gravity earned her an Independent Spirit Award Nomination for Best Female Lead Actor. Her other film credits include A Price Above Rubies, Copland, Trouble on the Corner, Private Parts, Hurricane, Layin' Low, Breathing Room, The Funeral, The Addiction, Bullets Over Broadway, Trust, The Unbelievable Truth, Random Hearts, and the title character in the award-winning film Judy Berlin. For her performance in John Sayles's Sunshine State, Falco received the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and New York Film Critics Online Awards for Best Supporting Actress. Her most recent films include Family of the Year opposite Danny DeVito and Danny Leiner's The Great New Wonderful, and she recently completed production on Jamie Babbit's The Quiet and Joe Roth's Freedomland. 


A film festival in your living room, Independent Lens, is an Emmy Award-winning weekly series airing Tuesday nights at 10 PM on PBS. Hosted by Edie Falco, the acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of independent producers, which has prompted Television Week to call it “Entertaining as hell and better than any other documentary series around.” 

Presented by ITVS, the series is supported by interactive companion websites and community engagement campaigns. Further information about the series is available at www.pbs.org/independentlens. Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS, and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. ABOUT ITVS Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web and the Emmy Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Tuesday nights at 10 PM on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue and serve underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing TV audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. More information about ITVS can be obtained by visiting www.itvs.org. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American People. 


PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 349 public television stations. Serving nearly 90 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet.

Posted on August 9, 2005