Emmy® Award-Winning PBS Series Independent Lens to Showcase Three Films About Art at the January 2011 Television Critics Association Press Tour

From the Gritty Streets of New York to the Garbage Dumps of Brazil to a Bizarre Backyard in Upstate New York, Three New Films Discover Beauty in the Unlikeliest Places

Fill 54 Created with Sketch. PDF Download

(San Francisco, CA, January 3, 2011)—PBS’s award-winning, critically heralded weekly series Independent Lens, hosted by America Ferrera, will prominently feature three art-related programs at the upcoming Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour, scheduled to take place January 2011 in Pasadena, California. Building on the system-wide arts programming initiative led by PBS, the panel presentation represents three of four films to premiere in April 2011 on Independent Lens as part of Artist Month. 

From director Tamra Davis (Billy Madison, Guncrazy) comes Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, the definitive portrait of the New York art world’s enfant terrible. In his short but brilliant career, Jean-Michel Basquiat was a wunderkind and a phenomenon. Discovered through his graffiti art in the late 1970s on the Lower East Side, he sold his first painting to Deborah Harry for $200, became best friends with Andy Warhol, and died at the age of 27 leaving behind thousands of works that have sold in the millions. Davis pays homage to her friend in this definitive documentary. Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child will premiere April 12 at 10pm. 

Lucy Walker’s Waste Land, follows Brazilian artist Vik Muniz (the subject of the 2003 Independent Lens film Worst Possible Illusion: The Curiosity Cabinet of Vik Muniz) as he embarks on a new project inspired by trash pickers at the largest landfill on earth on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Famous for his “Sugar Children” series, where he portrays the deprived children of Caribbean plantation workers using the sugar that their parents’ harvest as a tool, Muniz creates portraits of people using found materials from the places where they live and work, providing stirring evidence of the transformative power of art. Waste Land is on the short list for this year’s Academy Award® for Best Documentary. The documentary will have its broadcast premiere on Tuesday, April 19, at 10pm. 

As odd and suspenseful as any thriller, Jeff Malmberg’s Marwencol tells the amazing story of Mark Hogancamp. After being brutally beaten outside a bar, Mark was left brain damaged and traumatized. He devises his own brand of art therapy by constructing Marwencol, a miniature World War II-era town in his upstate New York backyard, and weaving complex storylines around his characters. Discovered by the downtown art world, Mark must choose between the safety of his fantasy life in Marwencol and the real world he’s avoided since his attack. Through Marwencol, Mark embarks on a long journey back into the real world, both physically and emotionally. Marwencol premieres on Tuesday, April 26 at 10pm. 

Also part of the month-long arts programming, but not appearing at TCA, is Desert of Forbidden Art by Amanda Pope and Tchavdar Georgiev, a sweeping look at decades of Soviet repression of the arts and Igor Savitsky’s one-man campaign to rescue the work of a legion of forgotten, politically volatile artists. In doing so, he created one of the most important collections of Western art ever amassed. Desert of Forbidden Art will air Tuesday, April 5, at 10pm. 

The TCA presentation will feature a Q&A with Tamra Davis, director of Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child; Jeff Malmberg, director of Marwencol; Lucy Walker, director of Waste Land; and Lois Vossen, Independent Lens series producer. 

For more information on Independent Lens, visit pbs.org/independentlens 

About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about unique individuals, communities, and moments in history. Presented by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is supported by interactive companion websites and national publicity and community engagement campaigns. Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS, and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. The series producer is Lois Vossen. 

CONTACT Voleine Amilcar, Independent Lens 415-356-8383 x 244 voleine_amilcar@itvs.org 

For more information and/or downloadable images, visit http://www.pbs.org/pressroom/

Posted on January 3, 2011