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Independent Lens

Season 14 2012 - 2013

  • 2012-10-02T02:00:00Z on PBS
  • 60 mins
  • 1 day, 3 hours, 0 mins
  • United States
  • English
  • Documentary, Drama

This acclaimed Emmy Award-winning 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 a unique individual, community or moment in history. The series is supported by interactive companion Web sites and national publicity and community engagement campaigns. Acclaimed actor and filmmaker Stanley Tucci hosts the series.

27 episodes

Filmed in 10 countries, the series follows Nicholas Kristof and celebrity activists America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde on a journey to tell the stories of inspiring, courageous individuals. Across the globe oppression is being confronted, and real meaningful solutions are being fashioned through health care, education, and economic empowerment for women and girls.

Filmed in 10 countries, the series follows Nicholas Kristof and celebrity activists America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde on a journey to tell the stories of inspiring, courageous individuals. Across the globe oppression is being confronted, and real meaningful solutions are being fashioned through health care, education, and economic empowerment for women and girls.

14x03 As Goes Janesville

  • 2012-10-09T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

As Goes Janesville is a verité documentary that records two years in the lives of laid-off workers, business leaders, and elected officials all trying to reinvent their lives and their midwestern town amid the closure of their GM plant and America’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The story begins shortly after the factory closed in 2008 and continues through a standoff between the newly elected governor and 14 Democratic state senators, one of whom is a main character in the film.

14x04 Love Free or Die

  • 2012-10-30T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

The life and work of Bishop Gene Robinson, an openly gay man who set a precedent in New Hampshire in the battle for LGBT people to receive full acceptance in the faith.

14x05 Solar Mamas

  • 2012-11-06T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

Jordanian wife and mother Rafea is leaving home for the first time to attend a college in India that is training rural women to become solar energy engineers.

Filmmaker Alex Gibney investigates the fact that the 400 richest Americans control more wealth than the 150 million people in the bottom 50 percent of the population.

14x07 Soul Food Junkies

  • 2013-01-15T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

Food traditions are hard to change, especially when they're passed on from generation to generation. Baffled by his dad's unwillingness to change his traditional soul food diet in the face of a health crisis, filmmaker Byron Hurt sets out to learn more about this rich culinary tradition and its relevance to black cultural identity.

14x08 Beauty Is Embarrassing

  • 2013-01-22T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

Raised in the Tennessee mountains, Wayne White started his career as a cartoonist in NYC. He quickly found success as one of the creators of the Pee-wee's Playhouse TV show which soon led to more work design some of the most arresting and iconic images in pop culture. Recently his word paintings featuring pithy and and often sarcastic text statements finely crafted onto vintage landscape paintings have made him a darling of the fine art world. The movie chronicles the vaulted highs and crushing lows of an artist struggling to find peace and balance between his professional work and his personal art. This is especially complicated for a man who struggles with the virtues he most often mocks in his art...Vanity, ego and fame.

14x09 The Revisionaries

  • 2013-01-29T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

The Texas State Board of Education rewrites teaching and textbook standards once every decade.

Whitney Young was one of the most powerful, controversial, and largely forgotten leaders of the civil rights movement, who took the fight directly to the powerful white elite, gaining allies in business and government, including three presidents.

14x11 Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

  • 2013-02-26T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

Profiling Chinese artist-activist Ai Weiwei, who helped design Beijing's iconic Bird's Nest Olympic stadium and later criticized the Games as party propaganda. His opposition to his country's autocratic rule, which he voices in his art and on social media, has caused him many difficulties, as filmmaker Alison Klayman witnesses during the making of this documentary: Government authorities shut down Ai's blog, beat him up, demolish his studio and hold him in secret detention for 81 days.

14x12 The House I Live In; As I Am

  • 2013-04-09T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

For the past 40 years, the war on drugs has resulted in more than 45 million arrests, $1 trillion dollars in government spending, and America’s role as the world’s largest jailer. Yet for all that, drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available than ever. Filmed in more than twenty states, The House I Live In captures heart-wrenching stories of those on the front lines — from the dealer to the grieving mother, the narcotics officer to the senator, the inmate to the federal judge — and offers a penetrating look at the profound human rights implications of America’s longest war.

Wonder Women! explores the nation’s long-term love affair with comic book superheroes and raises questions about the possibilities and contradictions of heroines within the genre. The film goes behind the scenes with Lynda Carter, Lindsay Wagner, Gloria Steinem, Kathleen Hanna, comic writers and artists, and others who offer an enlightening and entertaining counterpoint to the male-dominated superhero genre.

14x14 The Island President

  • 2013-04-23T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Follow the story of former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, a man confronting a problem greater than any other world leader has ever faced: the literal survival of his country and everyone in it

14x15 The Undocumented

  • 2013-04-30T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Thousands of migrants have perished in recent years while trying to cross the unforgiving Sonora desert in search of a better life in the United States. The film gives a face to some of the dead, and follows them on their long journey home.

14x16 Seeking Asian Female

  • 2013-05-07T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Two strangers — an aging white man and a young Chinese woman — pursue a marriage brokered by the Internet. They get more than they bargained for when she moves to America to be his bride in this quirky, appealing documentary.

14x17 The Invisible War

  • 2013-05-14T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

The most shameful and best-kept secret in the U.S. Military? The epidemic of rape and sexual assault within the ranks. An American female soldier in a combat zone is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire.

14x18 Detropia

  • 2013-05-28T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Can the Motor City rise from its ashes? A dynamic cluster of local innovators, entrepreneurs, and proud, self-proclaimed "hustlers” are poised to resurrect Detroit. The result could be a radically new city for the postindustrial age.

14x19 The Revolutionary Optimists

  • 2013-06-18T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Amlan Ganguly, a lawyer-turned social entrepreneur, has sown hope in the poorest neighborhoods of Calcutta by empowering children to become leaders in improving health, health, transforming their communities for the better.

Filipino musician Arnel Pineda gets the opportunity of a lifetime when Journey guitarist Neal Schon sees him perform on YouTube, leading to a job offer as the band's new lead singer.

14x21 The Waiting Room

  • 2013-10-22T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Filmmaker Peter Nicks chronicles events at a public hospital's emergency room, where the overworked staff and many uninsured patients must cope with disease, injury, bureaucracy and hard choices.

14x22 The Graduates

  • 2013-10-29T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

The Graduates / Los Graduados explores pressing issues in education today through the eyes of six Latino and Latina students from across the United States. More than a survey of contemporary policy debates, the bilingual, two-part film offers first-hand perspectives on key challenges facing Latino high school students and their families, educators, and community leaders. It is the story of the graduates who will make up America’s future.

14x23 Indian Relay

  • 2013-11-19T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

Indian Relay documents an unheralded aspect of modern-day Native American life and what it takes to win one of the more exciting forms of horse racing. From the bitter cold of winter to the heat of summer, the film follows teams from three different tribes as they compete across a grueling season.

14x25 Playwright: From Page to Stage

  • 2013-12-17T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

Two young playwrights from different backgrounds come together to create a new language for the stage.

14x26 Jiro Dreams of Sushi

  • 2013-12-24T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a 2011 American documentary film directed by David Gelb. The film follows Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old sushi master and owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Michelin three-star restaurant, on his continuing quest to perfect the art of sushi. The film also profiles Jiro's two sons, both of whom are also sushi chefs. The younger son, Takashi, left Sukiyabashi Jiro to open a mirror image of his father's restaurant in Roppongi Hills. The 50-year-old elder son, Yoshikazu, obligated to succeed his father, still works for Jiro and is faced with the prospect of one day taking over the flagship restaurant.

14x27 How to Survive a Plague

  • 2013-12-31T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

Activists from ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group) help identify new drugs that may be beneficial to people with AIDS.