(San Francisco, CA)—The Emmy® Award–winning weekly PBS series Independent Lens returns in October with its most provocative and entertaining lineup to date. Once again hosted by Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard, Independent Lens takes viewers across the country and around the world, exploring subjects as diverse as Pakistani politics, atom smashing, the U.S. deficit, revolutionary typefaces, Texas justice, the Mobile, Alabama Mardi Gras color line, and women and gays in the military.
“The quality of the filmmakers represented in this season’s lineup is amazing. We have two masters of the form—Albert Maysles (GREY GARDENS: From East Hampton to Broadway) and Jon Else (WONDERS ARE MANY: The Making of Doctor Atomic)—and new films from dynamic talents like Brett Morgen (CHICAGO 10) and Stacy Peralta (MADE IN AMERICA),” said Lois Vossen, series producer of Independent Lens. “And we’re thrilled to be welcoming back veteran Independent Lens filmmakers Patrick Creadon (I.O.U.S.A) and Johnny Symons (ASK NOT), along with new discoveries that are incredibly exciting, like the work of Gonzalo Arijon, whose film STRANDED: The Andes Plan Crash Survivors has astounded audiences around the world.”
The seventh season of Independent Lens will premiere with Brett Morgen’s revolutionary CHICAGO 10 on Wednesday, October 22, at 9 PM. With its boldly original use of animation combined with rare archival footage, the film explores the buildup to and unraveling of the Chicago Conspiracy Trial following the infamous 1968 Democratic Convention. CHICAGO 10’s characters are the stuff of legend: Black Panther leader Bobby Seale; an exasperated Judge Julius Hoffman; defense attorney William Kuntsler; SDS defendant Tom Hayden; and Yippies Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman. Vividly bringing them to life are the vocal talents of Hank Azaria, Mark Ruffalo, James Urbaniak, Jeffrey Wright, Liev Schreiber, Nick Nolte and Roy Scheider, among others.
The series then travels to Pakistan. In DINNER WITH THE PRESIDENT: A Nation’s Journey, Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar and Sri Lankan co-director Satha Sathananthan request a dinner with Pervez Musharraf, still the country’s leader at the time —and to their surprise the request is granted.
The family dinner with Musharraf and his mother forms the backdrop to a filmic journey through contemporary Pakistan as the filmmakers forgo the headlines and search the country for deeper answers. Other international films (one of the hallmarks of Independent Lens) include: LAKSHMI AND ME (India); STRANDED: The Andes Plane Crash Survivors (France); OUR DISAPPEARED / NUESTROS DESAPARECIDOS (Argentina); ARUSI PERSIAN WEDDING (Iran); and two films from Africa, TAKING ROOT: The Vision of Wangari Maathai and MILKING THE RHINO.
The arts are prominently featured with four films in December. Jon Else, along with Bonni Cohen, returns with WONDERS ARE MANY: The Making of Doctor Atomic, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a grand opera and the atomic bomb. GREY GARDENS: From East Hampton to Broadway, unfolds the creative journey of Albert Maysles' cult classic, Grey Gardens, from non-fiction film to legendary Broadway musical. DOC, a biography of literary figure Harold Louis “Doc” Humes, made by his daughter, and OPERATION FILMMAKER, in which an Iraqi film student lands his dream job working on Hollywood movie, round out the quartet.
Independent Lens brings some of the most talked-about films to PBS. LIONESS is a look at how five women in Iraq became involved in front-line combat despite the official policy against their participation, and ASK NOT is an exploration of the effects of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on current and former servicemen and servicewomen. MADE IN AMERICA provides a historical and sociological context for the rise of the devastating gang violence in South Los Angeles; TULIA, TEXAS takes a look at the war on drugs as fought in a small Texas town; and I.O.U.S.A. tackles one of the biggest problems facing the United States: our mounting national debt.
For the fourth consecutive season, Independent Lens will be supported by ITVS’s groundbreaking Community Cinema program, a free monthly screening series engaging communities through film. Community Cinema presents preview screenings of nine Independent Lens episodes, one screening per month from September through May, connecting people with local organizations and resources on important social issues in more than 50 cities across the country. Each screening is followed by a lively panel discussion or other presentation that showcases local community organizations, resources and opportunities to get involved. Screenings take place about one month prior to the national television broadcast of each film on PBS.
About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award–winning weekly series airing Tuesday nights at 10 PM 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. 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. Further information about the series visit: www.pbs.org/independentlens.
Independent Television Service 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 television audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. For more information about ITVS, visit www.itvs.org.
*Aaron Barnhart, TV Barn
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