Entertainment With a Purpose: National Community Cinema Series Spurs Social Discourse with Independent Documentaries From PBS' Independent Lens Series

Free screening series brings fifth year of community conversations to over 50 cities nationwide and online

For a complete lineup of the ITVS Community Cinema series visit: communitycinema.org For more information about Independent Lens, visit: pbs.org/independentlens 

(San Francisco, CA)—The Independent Television Service (ITVS) will launch the fifth year of its popular Community Cinema program in September 2009, a monthly national screening series showcasing nine documentaries, which feature compelling social issues and often-controversial topics from the Emmy® Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens. Engaging communities through film, Community Cinema connects community-based organizations with independent film enthusiasts, youth and families by providing free screenings, discussions and resources on important social issues in association with public television stations in more than 50 cities around the country. 

“The Community Cinema screenings go beyond simply watching a documentary,” said ITVS President Sally Jo Fifer. “They are conversation starters and a powerful educational tool and community resource that help people get involved in the issues they care about through a medium they understand. Audiences leave inspired and enlightened by the films and moved by the power of a shared experience.” 

Community Cinema is the largest public interest outreach program in public or commercial television. Since its inception in September 2005, more than 100,000 people have attended over 1,000 Community Cinema events across the country. These events have been produced in partnership with more than 2,500 community-based organizations, including American Legion Auxiliary, Disabled American Veterans, CARE USA, Amnesty International, The Green Belt Movement, and The Nature Conservancy. This year the program breaks new ground by launching an integrated social media system to unite community discussions into a national conversation through Facebook, Twitter and the new Community Cinema blog. 

“By providing online opportunities for audiences around the country to connect their thoughts and experiences around the films they have seen, Community Cinema will create not only local impact one community at a time, but a national dialogue around key social issues reflected in these very timely and engaging independent documentaries broadcasting nationally on PBS,” said Dennis Palmieri, Director of Communications for ITVS. 

Monthly—from September to May—Community Cinema screens films in communities at a range of venues from libraries to arts centers in major cities and small towns. Each screening is followed by a facilitated community discussion about the social issues the films explore. Highlights from the upcoming Community Cinema screening series include, D TOUR by Jim Granato, a surprising look at the journey of a young rock musician whose career is balanced against his need for a kidney transplant; BETWEEN THE FOLDS, directed by Vanessa Gould, is the story of a determined group of theoretical scientists and fine artists who have abandoned their careers and scoffed at their graduate degrees to forge new lives as modern-day paper folders; Stephen Walker’s box-office hit YOUNG@HEART, about a chorus composed of senior citizens from New England who sell out concert halls with their original takes on songs by contemporary artists ranging from The Clash to Coldplay; and Benjamin Franzen’s COPYRIGHT CRIMINALS, which examines the debate about musical sampling in hip-hop and beyond. 

For a complete lineup of the ITVS Community Cinema series visit: communitycinema.org For more information about Independent Lens, visit: pbs.org/independentlens 

About Community Cinema ITVS Community is the national community engagement program of 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: http://communitycinema.org/ 

CONTACT Voleine Amilcar 415-356-8383 Ext. 244 voleine_amilcar@itvs.org

Posted on September 3, 2009