Entertainment with a Purpose: National Community Cinema Series to Launch in Orange County

Spurring Social Discourse and Engagement with Independent Documentaries From PBS’s Independent Lens Series

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(Anaheim, CA) — Beginning this month, The Independent Television Service (ITVS), the leader of independent public media, announces the launch of its popular, national Community Cinema program in Orange County, in partnership with PBS SoCal (formerly KOCE). A free, nationwide, monthly, national screening series, Community Cinema showcases documentaries featuring compelling social issues from Emmy® Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens. The inaugural Community Cinema screening will kick off at the UltraStar GardenWalk 14 Cinemas (321 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim) on March 23 at 7:30 PM with the Academy Award®-nominated documentary, Waste Land by Lucy Walker. In addition to a free film, guests at the OC launch of Community Cinema will enjoy free popcorn and a drink, and have an opportunity to win prizes based on the film’s theme. 

Community Cinema plans to find a permanent home and audience in Orange County over the next few months, and is planning an announcement regarding a partnership with a premier OC venue this summer. Community Cinema has had a presence in Los Angeles County since 2005, and has hosted more than 75 events with more than 10,000 attendees. 

“Engaging communities through film, Community Cinema connects community-based organizations with independent film enthusiasts; youth and families by providing free screenings; and discussions and resources on important social issues, said PBS SoCal station manager, Ed Miskevich. We are excited to bring this groundbreaking program to Orange County, a community we have a long history with, and that we feel will embrace this new arts programming, and benefit from the array of diverse films that make up the screening series.” 

Community Cinema Orange County will launch with the Oscar®-nominated feature documentary Waste Land. Directed by Lucy Walker, and filmed over nearly three years, Waste Land follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil, where he finds himself at the world's largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an eclectic band of matadors — or garbage pickers. His collaboration with these inspiring characters, as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage, reveals both dignity and despair as the matadors begin to imagine how their lives could be different. 

On April 20, the screening series continues with a presentation of Bhutto by producer/director Duane Baughman. Bhutto chronicles the life of one of the most complex and fascinating characters of our time. An epic tale of Shakespearean dimension, Bhutto is the story of the first Muslim woman in history elected to lead an Islamic nation: Pakistan. 

Welcome to Shelbyville, by Kim A. Synder, is the featured program for the May 25 presentation. The film features a small town in the heart of America's Bible belt, as they grapple with rapidly changing demographics. Just a stone's throw away from Pulaski, Tennessee (the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan), longtime African American and white residents are challenged with how best to integrate with a growing Latino population and the more recent arrival of hundreds of Muslim Somali refugees. 

In 2009-2010, Community Cinema held 650 events nationwide, drawing in more than 40,000 attendees. More than 800 local and national organizations participated in bringing Community Cinema to the public to learn, discuss, and get involved in key social issues of our time. Through outreach efforts in partnership with local and national organ donation organizations, 75 people registered to become organ donors as a result of the screenings of D Tour, a surprising look at the journey of a young rock musician whose career is balanced against his need for a kidney transplant. The screenings of The Horse Boy, which follows one Texas couple and their autistic son, and The Eyes of Me, an extraordinary look at four blind teenagers, increased visibility for local organizations providing services and programs for the visually impaired and autistic communities. A Village Called Versailles, an incredible story of this little-known, tight-knit Vietnamese community in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, sheds light on the communities affected by the oil spill crisis in the Gulf Coast, raising awareness about the significant number of Vietnamese Americans impacted by the spill. 

About Community Cinema ITVS 
Community Cinema is the national community engagement program for the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and the Emmy® Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens. Through community engagement campaigns in support of groundbreaking, independent films, our innovative educational product ITVS Community Classroom and our flagship community outreach program Community Cinema, ITVS Community works to bring communities together and connect them with information, resources, and opportunities for education, engagement, and positive change. ITVS Community builds on our 15-year legacy of community engagement activities and makes public broadcasting into a powerful resource for individuals, communities, and organizations working on key social issues around the country. For a complete lineup or more information about the Community Cinema series visit: communitycinema.org

About PBS SoCal 
PBS SoCal, formerly KOCE-TV, is dedicated to interactively educating, entertaining, and enlightening the greater Los Angeles area. With its three unique broadcast channels. PBS SoCal HD, the OC Channel, and WORLD TV, PBS SoCal provides award-winning programs like Frontline, NewsHour, NOVA, Nature, and Masterpiece Theater, as well as local productions Real Orange, Inside OC With Rick Reiff, and Bookmark With Maria Hall-Brown. Through community outreach initiatives including PBS SoCal Education, PBS SoCal provides local schools access to new media materials that engage students in twenty-first century learning. Explore the future of PBS in Southern California at www.pbssocal.org For more information about Community Cinema series visit: communitycinema.org For more information about Independent Lens, visit: pbs.org/independentlens 

Krissy Bailey 415-356-8383, ext. 254 krissy_bailey@itvs.org
Desiree Gutierrez 310-753-8503 desiree_gutierrez@itvs.org

Posted on March 14, 2011