Exclusive: ‘Independent Lens’ maps out 2016/17 season

‘Independent Lens’ will air Newtown, Tower and The Witness during its 2016/2017 season. The PBS documentary strand returns Dec. 26 with Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel’s Meet the Patels and wraps ...
November 11, 2016

‘Independent Lens’ will air Newtown, Tower and The Witness during its 2016/2017 season.

The PBS documentary strand returns Dec. 26 with Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel’s Meet the Patels and wraps up next summer with Shaleece Haas‘s Real Boy.

The season’s 19 films include Kim A. Snyder‘s Newtown, which premiered at Sundance and looks at the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting; Keith Maitland‘s Tower (pictured), about the 1966 mass shooting at the University of Texas; and James Soloman’s The Witness, which revisits the 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese that became a symbol of urban apathy.

Other festival favorites set to play on ‘Independent Lens’ include Maya Zinshtein‘s Forever Pure, Ferne Pearlstein’s The Last Laugh and Lou Pepe and Keith Fulton’s The Bad Kids.

‘Independent Lens,’ which is programmed by the Independent Television Service, funded and co-produced the majority of films airing over the next year.

“Four years ago, we funded both Tower and Newtown to put a double lens on the issue of gun violence in America,” executive producer Lois Vossen said in a statement. “Sadly, that issue grew ever more critical as we worked with Keith and Kim as they made their astounding films.”

ITVS co-produced airing this season include Meet the Patels, What Was Ours, Ovarian Psycos, National Bird, Farmer/Veteran, Shadow World and Real Boy

The non-profit also backed Raoul Peck’s award seasons favorite, I Am Not Your Negro, though the air date for that title has not been announced yet.

“I’ve wanted to support a James Baldwin project and the opportunity to work with Raoul was extraordinary,” says Vossen. “Given the deep divides in our country today, that film is one of the most important films – documentary or narrative – to emerge this year.”

‘Independent Lens’ airs Monday nights at 10 p.m. (unless otherwise indicated) on PBS. All films are available for free online streaming the day after broadcast. A selection of popular and award-winning films from previous seasons will also be available to stream in the weeks leading up to the new season launch.

The full schedule is below:

Meet the Patels by Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel
Monday, Dec. 26, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

Best and Most Beautiful Things by Garrett Zevgetis
Monday, Jan. 2, 10-11:00 p.m. ET

Containment by Peter Galison and Robb Moss
Monday, Jan. 9, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

What Was Ours by Mat Hames
Monday, Jan. 16, 10-11:00 p.m. ET

The Witness by James Solomon
Monday, Jan. 23, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

Birth of a Movement by Susan Gray and Bestor Cram
Monday, Feb. 6, 10-11:00 p.m. ET

Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America by Matt Ornstein
Monday, Feb. 13, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

TOWER by Keith Maitland
Tuesday, Feb. 14, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

The Bad Kids by Lou Pepe and Keith Fulton
Monday, March 20, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

Ovarian Psycos by Joanna Sokolowski and Kate Trumbull-LaValle
Monday, March 27, 10-11:00 p.m. ET

Newtown by Kim A. Snyder
Monday, April 3, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

SEED: The Untold Story by Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel
Monday, April 17, 10-11:00 p.m. ET

The Last Laugh by Ferne Pearlstein
Monday, April 24, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

National Bird by Sonia Kennebeck
Monday, May 1, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

The Prison in Seven Landscapes by Brett Story
Monday, May 8, 10-11:00 p.m. ET

Forever Pure by Maya Zinshtein
Monday, May 15, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

They Call Us Monsters by Ben Lear
Monday, May 22, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

Farmer Veteran by Alix Blair and Jeremy M. Lange
Monday, May 29, 9-10 p.m. ET

Real Boy by Shaleece Haas
Air date TBD


About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.