Independent Lens Unveils 2009-2010 Season on PBS

Get ready to rock with the most entertaining golden oldies you’ll ever meet, step inside a cramped New York City apartment filled with a mind-blowing collection of modern art and travel to the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, to experience the world’s largest garbage village. This diverse collection of stories––27 remarkable independent films––can only be found on Independent Lens, which will have its season premiere October 13 on PBS.

The series kicks-off with Megumi Sasaki’s acclaimed documentary HERB AND DOROTHY, about a postal worker and his librarian wife whose passion led them to create one of the most priceless collections of contemporary art in the world. The more practical side of art is explored in OBJECTIFIED, an inside look at the world of product design, by acclaimed director Gary Hustwit (of the highly-entertaining documentary feature, HELVETICA).

In BETWEEN THE FOLDS, directed by Vanessa Gould, a determined group of theoretical scientists and fine artists have abandoned careers and scoffed at graduate degrees to forge new lives as modern-day paper folders. Together they reinterpret and bring new meaning to the ancient art of origami, creating a wild mix of sensibilities towards art, science, creativity and meaning. NO SUBTITLES NECESSARY: Laszlo & Vilmos, directed by James Chressenthis, makes cinematic history with the story of trailblazing cinematographers Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond, who transformed American cinema in the 1960s and 1970s with groundbreaking films like Easy Rider, Deliverance and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

As America seeks to re-engage the world, Independent Lens continues to transcend borders with international documentaries that take viewers into the lives of ordinary and extraordinary people. BEHIND THE RAINBOW offers an in-depth look at the political struggles of South Africa, and GARBAGE DREAMS, follows three teenage boys born into the trash trade in the world’s largest “garbage village,” outside Cairo as they are forced to make choices that will impact the survival of their community.

UNMISTAKEN CHILD follows a Tibetan monk’s search for the reincarnation of his beloved teacher, and PROJECT KASHMIR, filmed by two young American women––one Muslim and the other Hindu––explores what makes people choose their homeland over preserving their own lives. JOURNALS OF A WILY SCHOOL, goes inside a school for pickpockets, presenting a real-life story of survival on the streets of India.

Against the backdrop of a national debate on education policy, Independent Lens visits two extraordinary schools that could not be more different: the Texas School for the Blind in Keith Maitland’s THE EYES OF ME; and a new small public school in the Bronx in Christopher Wong’s WHATEVER IT TAKES.

The bonds of family are explored in three intimate and personal documentaries: LOST SOULS, filmmaker Monika Navarro’s heartfelt portrait of her troubled Mexican American family; THE HORSE BOY, an official 2009 Sundance selection, features a Texas family’s unorthodox journey to Mongolia to find help for their severely autistic son; and Karen Skloss’s SUNSHINE, a poignant meditation on unplanned pregnancy and single motherhood told through her own story.

In January Independent Lens will present three lively documentaries about music: Stephen Walker’s box-office hit YOUNG@HEART, about a chorus composed of senior citizens from New England who sell out concert halls with their original takes on songs by contemporary artists ranging from The Clash to Coldplay; COPYRIGHT CRIMINALS, which examines the debate about musical sampling in hip-hop; and P-STAR RISING, about the coming of age story of a precocious 9-year-old rapper from a struggling family in Harlem.

Independent Lens will also showcase two powerful films that continue to shed light on the lives devastated by Hurricane Katrina. MINE tells the heartbreaking story of the animals left behind and the struggles of hurricane victims to reunite with their beloved pets. A VILLAGE CALLED VERSAILLES takes viewers to an insular community of Vietnamese refugees in east New Orleans, showing how the devastation of Katrina strengthened the community members’ bonds with each other and with the city they call home.

Visit the Independent Lens Web site for more information >>

  • helenfogarty

    I AM HORRIFIED THAT MY LOCAL PBS CHANNEL (CHANNEL 13/NY STATE) HAS NO SCHEDULED SHOWINGS OF INDEPENDENT LENS' NEW SEASON FROM THIS I FIGURE THAT I WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO VIEW THESE PROGRAMS WHY NOT? I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING THESE INDEPENDENT FILMS AND WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT I CAN DO TO GET THEM BACK THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION

  • Pingback: Highlights from the Television Critics Association Press Tour | ITVS Beyond the Box Blog

  • phil_zimmerman

    The next season of Independent Lens does not begin until October 13. WNET/Thirteen, and other PBS stations, will announce upcoming airdates two to three weeks ahead of broadcast. Check your local schedule in mid-September for the most current information. WNET/Thirteen is a strong supporter of Independent Lens and will be airing OUR DISAPPEARED/NUESTROS DESAPARECIDOS, part of our current season, at 10:00 PM, September 21. Stay tuned—and thanks for watching!

  • Bart

    What a mediocre selection.

  • Bart

    What a mediocre selection.

  • shellene7

    I watched the Independent Lens, PBS documentary “A Village Called Versailles” the Zaballeen” in April, 2010. My heart goes out to the hard working “garbage people” who collect and recycle trash to earn food to put on the table. I understand its what they know and have worked the trade for generations but I cant understand how globalization hasnt stepped up and involved those in the know. I would like to be a host to a hungry little boy or girl.