ITVS and PBS offer viewers the opportunity to explore the rich and vibrant history and cultural contributions of Native Americans throughout the year, but this November offers a special slate of new and encore programs in honor of Native American Heritage Month.
This November, Independent Lens is shining a spotlight on Native American culture with two new films. Premiering Monday, November 18th, 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, this lively documentary follows teams from three different tribes as they compete across a grueling season. Then on November 25th, Young Lakotatakes viewers to South Dakota, where abortion politics bring political turmoil to the doorstep on the Pine Ridge Reservation and three young idealists, along with the tribe’s first female president, must decide how far they will go to change politics.
Throughout the month, Community Cinema and Women and Girls Lead continues to celebrate Native American Heritage Month by showcasing additional films featuring outstanding women leaders. These documentaries are available on PBS Video and additional online screenings will be offered using OVEE – the social screening platform for watching PBS content and engaging in meaningful discussions around films. Continue reading →
The Graduates/Los Graduados explores the national high school dropout crisis through the eyes of six Latino students. While the two-part special airs Monday, October 28th and November 4th, audiences can also watch five additional short films online, each showcasing additional challenges faced by today’s Latino youth.
The five short films are part of the American Graduate public media initiative, supported by Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to help local communities across America find solutions to address the dropout crisis. These shorts (which include Can’t Hold Me Back, I Really Want to Make It, Immigrant High,and Skipping Up) collectively showcase a diverse array of determined Latino adolescents, from Oakland to Detroit, New York to San Antonio, who have all struggled to overcome challenges — gang violence, drugs, poverty, young motherhood, and language barriers — as they keep their eyes on the prize: a high school diploma.
The new season of Community Cinema will screen six documentaries in more than 100 cities across the country, in addition to hosting online social screenings through the innovative OVEE platform.
The 2013-14 season of Community Cinema officially launched in September, offering an exciting slate of films and new ways to participate. First up, partners are screening the two part series The Graduates/Los Graduados prior to its Independent Lens broadcast premiere dates on Monday, October 28 and November 4 (check local listings). The series features first-hand perspectives on the challenges facing Latino and Latina high school students from across the U.S.
The Graduates/Los Graduados is the first entirely bilingual English-Spanish Community Cinema engagement campaign, with resources including an incredibly creative and engaging Youth Action Guide designed to get young people involved in increasing their school-wide graduation rates. At screenings, a few lucky educators and youth leaders will get to take home their own DVDs with the films, short format modules, and tools to help bring other important stakeholders into the conversation. With the support of CPB’s American Graduate initiative behind The Graduates/Los Graduados, the Community Cinema screenings through October will help start the school year off right with impactful, solution-oriented discussions on education and equality. Continue reading →
Join ITVS’s Independent Lens each week for a special #ThrowbackThursday dip into the archives.
If you’re a fan of Instagram and Twitter (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?), you’ve probably seen or used the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday. The social trend is so popular that on Instagram alone, there are over 23 million pictures tagged with #ThrowbackThursday and another 40 million captioned with #tbt.
ITVS’s Emmy-award winning series, Independent Lens, is joining in on the fun by unlocking the PBS Video vault. Every Thursday, Independent Lens is announcing the revival of a previous aired, fan favorite film. The “throwback” docs are only available on PBS.org for one week, so take advantage while you can.
This week’s #ThrowbackThursday offering is Summer Pasture, the story of a young nomadic couple living with their infant daughter in eastern Tibet. The documentary provides a rare window into a highly insular community seldom seen by outsiders. In the collective imagination of Tibet, nomads have traditionally occupied a dual role — romanticized as embodying the purest form of Tibetan identity, and mocked as being backwards, uncivilized, and inferior.
Follow Independent Lens on Twitter and Instagram for future #ThrowbackThursday announcements and other tasty morsels for your indie pleasure.
IndependentLens is currently seeking submissions of films in advanced rough cut or fine cut stage or completed films to broadcast during the October 2014 – June 2015 season. To learn more about eligibility, what we’re looking for, and to complete our online submission form go to www.ilsubmissions.org.
Danfung Dennis’ Hell and Back Again — which had previously been nominated for an Oscar — was nominated for a Best Documentary Emmy. The film intimately traces a Marine’s rough re-landing back Stateside after a stint in Afghanistan.
Brad Lichtenstein’s film As Goes Janesville, about how the recession hit a Wisconsin town and what it says about the American Dream, is nominated in the Outstanding Investigative Journalism Long Form category.
David Weissman’s We Were Here, which movingly looked back at how the AIDS epidemic both ravaged San Francisco but also brought it together in inspiring ways, was nominated for Outstanding Historical Programming Long Form.
Aaron Schock’s Circo, which follows a Mexican circus family struggling to maintain their way of life in a rough economy, was nominated in the Outstanding Arts & Culture Programming category.
“We congratulate all the filmmakers nominated today,” said Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Senior Series Producer. “The extraordinary quality of their work demonstrates again the unique and vital role that independent documentarians play as journalists, going behind the headlines to delve deeper into the most important issues of our time.”
We’re also proud that ITVS-funded documentaries for PBS’s POV series, including Give Up Tomorrow (directed by Michael Collins) and Granito: How to Nail a Dictator (directed by Pamela Yates), received Emmy recognition as well, nominated in the Outstanding Investigative Journalism Long Form category; while the ITVS-funded Frontline film The Interrupters (directed by Hoop Dreams filmmaker Steve James) was nominated for Outstanding Informational Programming and Outstanding Editing.
The 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival, June 13-23 at L.A. LIVE, will screen a diverse slate of nearly 200 feature films, shorts, music videos, and documentaries from around the world. Don’t miss 10 days and 11 nights of red carpet premieres, conversations, live music, free outdoor screenings, and films from around the world.
Some of the most energetic, riveting, and symphonic sounds in jazz today emanate from the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. The band, consisting of eight brothers–all sons of jazz legend Phil Cohran–who were raised on Chicago’s South Side and have been practicing as a family since they were kids.
Whether playing on the streets of New York City or performing alongside Prince, when the brothers raise their horns, they create a music that looms large in the imagination. As the brothers come of age on the world’s stage, brotherhood becomes more than just a biological fact. It becomes an ideal, even when it clashes with their future dreams. Continue reading →
Summer Pastureand the Why Poverty?series were among the programs honored on Monday at theGeorge Foster Peabody Awards in New York City. Administered by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Peabody is one of the most prestigious honors in electronic media.
The 72nd Annual Peabody Award Luncheon on Monday, May 20, 2013. Courtesy of Lois Vossen.
Summer Pasture and two of the documentaries from the Why Poverty? series, ITVS-funded Park Avenue and Solar Mamas, aired on Independent Lens in 2012, representing the only PBS programming to be recognized at this year’s ceremony. Independent Lens Senior Series Producer Lois Vossen attended the luncheon and accepted the Summer Pasture award on behalf of the filmmakers, who were unable to attend:
“It was an honor to attend the Peabody Awards to accept a Peabody on behalf of Lynn True, Nelson Walker, and Tsering Perlo for their beautiful film Summer Pasture. Independent Lens was also awarded a Peabody for Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream and Solar Mamas, which broadcast as part of the Why Poverty? series. Winning PBS’s two Peabody Awards this year is further indication of the extraordinary and extraordinarily important work independent filmmakers do. Their unyielding passion and commitment to journalism makes them a vital part of public television. We need their voices now more than ever. It also didn’t hurt that Judd Apatow told me today how much he loves Independent Lens and that it is one of his favorite series!” Continue reading →
Military women have marched toward increased rights throughout United States history. From the American Revolution, when they operated primarily as nurses, to the Iraq War, when they served covertly on the frontlines in Team Lioness, women have finally been acknowledged for the service they provide to the United States. As of January 2013, they are legally recognized as ground combat fighters.
In honor of Memorial Day, watch Rebel (airing May 24 on PBS’s Voces) to learn more about one neglected female figure who shaped the United States military, Loreta Velazquez, Confederate soldier and Union spy. In the meantime, here’s a snapshot of female soldiers’ long path to the present:
During the American Revolution, in 1775, Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates told Gen. George Washington that, “the sick suffered much for want of good female Nurses.” Washington beseeched Congress, which approved one nurse for every ten patients. Women also served as water bearers, cooks, laundresses, and saboteurs.
During the Civil War, women soldiers on both sides disguised themselves as men in order to serve. In 1866, Dr. Mary Walker received the Medal of Honor. She is the only female to have been awarded this highest honor.
In World War I, 21,480 Army nurses serve in military hospitals in the United States and overseas. Eighteen African-American Army nurses serve stateside caring for German prisoners of war (POWs) and African-American soldiers. More than 400 military nurses die in the line of duty. The majority died from the “Spanish Flu.”
The Army establishes the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) during World War II. They were the first women besides nurses to “serve within the ranks of the United States Army.” More than 150,000 women served as WACs during the war. In 1942, Nancy Harkness Love organized 25 women pilots into the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS). The WAFS flew planes from the factory to military bases.
WACs in the Vietnam War supported the troops mainly in administrative military occupational specialties (MOSs). One WAC detachment was assigned to Headquarters, first at Ton Son Nhut Airbase, then at Long Binh. “While engineers readied new barracks at Long Binh, the women lived in a building typical of the tropics, with openings between outer wallboards and no windows,” according to Army.mil. “Red dust covered their rooms during the dry season, and rain soaked them during the wet season.”
By the end of 2004, 19 servicewomen were killed during the Iraq War. Team Lioness, featured in the documentary Lioness, was organized to search and soothe Muslim women in accordance with cultural customs. “These women in Ramadi would become the first to engage in offensive ground combat operations in this country’s history,” said Lory Manning, Director of Women in the Military Project, in an interview for Lioness. Continue reading →
April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the U.S. and while Women and Girls Lead campaign partners were doing their part to advocate for survivors, our main efforts went to raising public awareness through film. We started the month with the highly anticipated two-part series premiere of Kind Hearted Woman, a documentary by David Sutherland. We’ve also been preparing for the upcoming May 13th broadcast of the Academy Award nominated documentary The Invisible War by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering. These two films in particular show the powerful potential for storytelling to support healing.
An act of violence can last only minutes, but the effects on a survivor can linger for a lifetime. According to the World Health Organization, survivors of sexual assault are 26 times more likely to abuse drugs and four times more likely to contemplate suicide. Multiply that times the 18 percent of women and girls who experience sexual assault, and the U.S. has a startling health epidemic on its hands. While awareness about prevention and punishment has steadily increased, Kind Hearted Woman and The Invisible War paint a rarely seen picture of what it takes to heal from the long-term effects of sexual violence.
In Kind Hearted Woman, we met Robin Poor Bear, a charismatic Oglala Sioux woman and mother of two. Robin is in a battle with sobriety after years of sexual abuse drove her to alcohol abuse. Robin’s story is not unique – alcohol abuse is 13 times more likely for survivors of gender-based violence. In the five-hour series, which was filmed over three years, we watch Robin heal before our eyes as her voice grows more self-assured, the bonds with her children deepen, and she remains steadfastly sober. “The more I tell my story, the stronger it’s gonna make me,” Robin declares. Watch Kind Hearted Woman online.
Viewers who tuned in to the Kind Hearted Woman broadcast on Independent Lens and FRONTLINE April 1st and 2nd responded to Robin’s story with an outpouring of compassion and support. Some even asked if there was a way they could contribute financially. As a result, the filmmakers established a fund where people can send donations to Robin and her family to use throughout their healing process. Learn more about the Robin Poor Bear Fund.
Kind Hearted Woman is also being used to train healthcare professionals in treating and responding to the harmful effects of violence. The Man Up Campaign and the American Indian Community House hosted a screening at Mount Sinai Hospital to facilitate a discussion on treating and responding to the harmful effects of violence. Throughout the year, Man Up partners with Native American communities to train and equip male advocates in fighting the high rates of gender-based violence on reservations.
During the May 13th broadcast of The Invisible War, viewers will meet U.S. service women and men who are living with the effects of Military Sexual Trauma (MST), a term developed in response to the widespread problem of rape in the military. MST is akin to post-traumatic stress disorder, which is characterized by severe anxiety, stress, or fear. On the whole, survivors of sexual assault are six times more likely to experience post-traumatic stress disorder. Amy Herdy says in her interview for The Invisible War, “I have never seen trauma like I have seen from veterans who have suffered Military Sexual Trauma.”
When several of the survivors come together to file a lawsuit regarding their sexual assault cases, a powerful shift occured. They find strength in their common stories. “I’m not alone,” survivor Kori Coica repeats in the film, “I’m not alone.” The film’s Executive Producer Regina Kulik Scully hopes to recreate this transformative effect in the newly established Artemis Rising Invisible War Recovery Program. The program, which welcomed its first group of veterans in February 2013, offers specialized, non-pharmaceutical treatment for survivors of MST.
In addition to the filmmaker’s efforts, our partner RAINN is working closely with the Department of Defense to offer a Safe Helpline to members of the military. The hotline makes available trained, impartial advocates who can counsel service women and men on what to do if they experience, witness, or feel at risk of sexual assault. Learn how to contact the Safe Helpline.
Also check out one of RAINN’s public service announcements, which is available to Women and Girls Lead partners and stations to use in support of the Kind Hearted Woman and The Invisible War broadcasts: