Independent Lens Kicks Off New Season of Award-Winning Documentaries on PBS

Fall Lineup Includes Sundance Film Festival Prize Winner Feels Good Man as well as Directorial Debut from HGTV Favorite Jonathan Scott, Among Others

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(San Francisco, CA) July 30, 2020 — ITVS, the leading documentary co-producer and distributor for public media, today announced the fall lineup of new documentaries that will kick off the upcoming season of Independent Lens, the documentary anthology series on PBS.

The new season premieres in October, opening with Arthur Jones’ Sundance hit Feels Good Man, followed by Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip, the directorial debut of the famed HGTVProperty Brothers personality. Next is Hillary Bachelder’s Represent, an intimate look at three first-time female political candidates as they campaign for different offices. Finally, Belly of theBeast, from Emmy and Peabody Award-winning director and producer Erika Cohn, takes viewers behind prison walls for an unflinching look inside the criminal justice system.

“The new season of Independent Lens features a rich variety of films, each telling timely and fascinating stories that raise critically important questions that reflect the times in which we’re living,” said Lois Vossen, Executive Producer of Independent Lens. “This season we explore the most extreme, hateful corners of the internet, as well as what it takes for women to pursue public office. We see the horrors faced by female inmates in today’s correctional system, and exactly what and who is stifling the growth of renewable energy in this country. These impressive films delve deep into the most pressing issues facing our nation, through the eyes of some of the most talented and incisive documentary filmmakers working today.”

The new season of Independent Lens premieres on October 19 with the broadcast debut of Feels Good Man, the story of Matt Furie’s quirky comic character Pepe the Frog, and Furie’s up hill battle to reclaim his creation after it was co-opted by online forces who turned it into a symbol of hate. The film is a thought-provoking, wild ride through the lightning-quick spin cycle of digital memes, and an exploration of the power of online imagery in a culture where ownership and meaning can be wrested away from creators in an instant. The fascinating tale of this unlucky cartoon frog premiered as part of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker.

Represent (October 26) follows three women in the heart of the American Midwest who have decided to run for office on their own terms, taking on entrenched systems of power in an effort to reshape local politics. The film elegantly captures life on and off the campaign trail, showing women from different political parties, in vastly different communities, with radically different support systems, and yet who fight many of the same battles in their campaigns.

Premiering later in the season is Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip (November 16), from HGTV’s Property Brothers co-host Jonathan Scott. Scott’s directorial debut explores the production of energy in this country, and the obstacles and opportunities for achieving energy freedom. Along the way, he encounters fossil fuel monopolies that are stifling the growth of renewable energy. The film follows Scott as he travels across the nation, speaking with senators, coal miners, solar panel installers, and others on his mission to dismantle a flawed energy system.

From Erika Cohn, Belly of the Beast (November 23) is told through the eyes of current and formerly incarcerated women in the California state prison system. The film sheds light on a pattern of coercive and non-consensual sterilizations of women—almost exclusively women of color—in prison between 1997 and today, examining the human and reproductive rights violations occurring within that and other prison systems.

The upcoming fall slate will also feature encore programming of previous Independent Lens titles, including Charm City (December 7), The Force (December 14), and RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked The World (December 21).

ITVS has presented Independent Lens and co-produced the films that air as part of the series for almost two decades. Through its various funding initiatives, ITVS has helped to get numerous documentaries off the ground and broadcast on public media, including award-winning titles such as One Child Nation and I Am Not Your Negro.

Visit the Independent Lens film page for more information.

About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS Monday nights at10:00 PM. The acclaimed series, with Lois Vossen as executive producer, features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by ITVS, the series is funded by the Corporation for PublicBroadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and theNational Endowment for the Arts. For more visit Join the conversation: and on Twitter @IndependentLens.

About ITVS
ITVS is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that has, for over 25 years, funded and partnered with a diverse range of documentary filmmakers to produce and distribute untold stories. ITVS incubates and co-produces these award-winning films and then airs them for free on PBS via our weekly series, Independent Lens, as well as on other PBS series and through our digital platform, OVEE. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. For more information, visit

Posted on July 30, 2020