Winter/spring schedule for PBS’ ‘Independent Lens’ unveiled

U.S. public broadcaster PBS has revealed the winter/spring 2012 programming line-up for its acclaimed doc strand 'Independent Lens,' including two Oscar shortlisted docs, Hell and Back Again (pictured) and We Were Here.
January 20, 2012

U.S. public broadcaster PBS has revealed the winter/spring 2012 programming line-up for its acclaimed documentary strand ‘Independent Lens,’ including Hell and Back Again (pictured) and We Were Here, both shortlisted for Academy Award nominations this year.

The winter/spring season, hosted by actress Mary Louise Parker, is kicked off on February 2, with Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock. Produced and directed by Sharon LaCruise, the doc focuses on the woman who fought for nine black students to attend an all-white high school in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957.

On February 9, Goeran Hugo Olsson’s The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 will document the Black Power Movement in the African American community and Diaspora from 1967 to 1975, featuring footage previously stored in the cellar of Swedish Television for the past 30 years.

Following that, on February 16, is More Than A Month, produced and directed by Shukree Hassan Tilghman. The doc follows the filmmaker on his cross-country campaign to end Black History Month.

You’re Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Don’t airs on March 29. The film by Scott Kirschenbaum looks at one woman living in the Traditions Alzheimer’s Care Unit in California.

‘Independent Lens’ visits Sesame Street with the airing of Constance Marks’ festival hit, Being Elmo, on April 5. The film follows Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind the popular Sesame Street character.

On April 12, the strand will feature When the Drum is Beating, a doc on Haiti’s best known band, Septentrional, from director Whitney Dow, while Chris Paine’s Revenge of the Electric Car airs April 19.

Next up on April 27 will be Facing the Storm: Story of the American Bison, from Doug Hawes-Davis, with Aaron Schock’s Circo, a look at a Mexican family circus, airing May 3.

On May 10, look for Summer Pasture. The film by Lynn True, Nelson Walker III, and Tsering Perlo is a portrait of a young nomadic family in eastern Tibet.

Precious Knowledge, a look at the success of Tucson High’s Mexican American Studies Program from director Ari Palos, airs on May 17, while Danfung Dennis’ Hell and Back Again, following the story of one Marine at war and back home, airs on May 24.

Finishing off May is Left by the Ship, from Emma Rossi Landi and Alberto Vendemmiati. The doc, airing on May 31, looks at the generation of Filipino Amerasians who were fathered by U.S. servicemen stationed in military bases in the Philippines until 1992.

On June 7, David Weissman’s We Were Here, examining the impact of the AIDS epidemic on San Francisco, will air, followed by Julie Wyman’s Strong! at an as-yet-unannounced date. Wyman’s doc follows a female weightlifter nearing the end of her career.

“Our upcoming winter/spring season features a robust slate of some of the most engaging and award-winning documentaries ever on ‘Independent Lens,’” said senior series producer Lois Vossen.

“It’s a perfect mix of unique characters, critical issues, and important stories that demonstrate the extraordinary range and power of independent documentary filmmakers. We can’t wait to share them with millions of viewers across the country.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor-in-chief and content director for Realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to Realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.