PBS and ITVS’ Emmy–winning ‘Independent Lens’ has released its winter programming slate of new feature documentaries. Running from January 17 to March 21, 2022, this season continues the series’ commitment to showcasing non-fiction filmmaking that engages with urgent contemporary social issues.
“Our winter film slate represents a wide array of bold, visionary stories that tackle some of the thorniest and most pressing issues of our society, from the humanitarian crisis at the border to mass school shootings to the racial inequities baked into the very foundations of our cities,” said ‘Independent Lens’ executive producer Lois V0ssen in a statement. “We look forward to the conversations [these films] will spark and the ripple effects of change—both seen and unseen—that [they] will inspire across our communities.”
Kicking off the new season on January 17, James Rutenbeck’s A Reckoning in Boston chronicles the filmmaker’s evolving relationship with two participants in Dorchester, Massachusetts’s Clemente Course in the Humanities, which provides free college courses and credits to low-income adult students in underserved communities. What was initially intended by Rutenbeck as an academic study of the program becomes a journey of self-reflection and self-interrogation as the filmmaker comes to grips with the inherent racial bias entangled with access to education in the U.S.
Airing on January 31, Jeff Bemiss and Lisa Molomot’s Missing in Brooks County (which was nominated for Best Political Documentary at the Critics Choice Documentary Awards earlier this year) examines the U.S.-Mexico border crisis through the lens of two families’ desperate search for missing loved ones who disappeared while attempting to make the dangerous crossing into southern Texas.
Directed by Giorgio Angelini, Owned: A Tale of Two Americas intertwines big-picture analysis with character portraits to provide a capsule history of the impact of racist housing policies from the immediate post-World War II period up until the 2008 financial crash. The film will make its broadcast premiere on February 7.
The following week, on February 14, Todd Chandler’s Bulletproof paints a quietly chilling picture of the culture (and economy) of fear that has been created in the wake of America’s epidemic of school shootings. In a deceptively and strategically understated manner, the film scrutinizes the security measures and routines that have become a daily element of students’ and teachers’ lives, as well as the ways that business has sought to capitalize on the supposedly ever-looming threat of targeted mass violence.
On February 21, ‘Independent Lens’ continues its Stories for Justice project—a public media partnership that spotlights non-fiction filmmaking and reportage about justice reform—with Apart, directed by Academy Award nominee Jennifer Redfearn (Sun Come Up). The film follows the journeys of three women navigating their difficult return to their families and communities following their incarceration on drug-related charges.
After a one-month hiatus, the winter season of ‘Independent Lens’ resumes and concludes on March 21 with Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh’s Writing with Fire, which follows the reporters of India’s all-female news network Khabar Lahariya as they tackle their country’s patriarchal culture of corruption, repression, and open (and frequently violent) misogyny.