About Independent Lens


Airing weekly on the PBS primetime schedule, Independent Lens is television’s largest showcase of independent documentary film. Each week we bring you another original documentary film, made by one of the best independent filmmakers working today. Independent Lens films have won 17 Emmy Awards, 16 George Foster Peabody Awards, five Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, and have received nine Academy Award nominations. Independent Lens won the 2013, 2014, and 2015 International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Continuing Series, and was nominated again for 2017.

This season, from winter to summer, Independent Lens presents a new group of award-winning (and Oscar-nominated) films that will thrust viewers into the heart of conversations at the center of current American life. As Independent Lens Executive Producer Lois Vossen said, “We are living in a Golden Age of social issue documentaries. Audiences want information they can trust, and human stories help them make sense of local, national and international events.” Now more than ever, our films are vital to continuing and creating national conversations. 

Independent Lens’ Fall 2017-Winter 2018 lineup launches Monday, November 6 with Chasing Trane, John Scheinfeld’s portrait of jazz great John Coltrane, featuring Denzel Washington as the voice of “Trane.” Other highlights include Raoul Peck’s Academy Award-nominated I Am Not Your Negro; Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges & Universities, the latest film from Stanley Nelson (The Black Panthers); Jennifer M. Kroot’s The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, a fascinating look at the life and times of the groundbreaking creator of “Tales of the City”; Peter Nicks’ The Force, an inside look at Oakland’s troubled police department; and Peter Bratt’s Dolores, a moving portrait of pioneering labor and women’s rights activist Dolores Huerta. Many more titles for Spring 2018 will be announced soon; check back to the Our Films page for more.

All along the way, Independent Lens will bring these rich stories to even wider, more diverse audiences, engage communities in conversations through Indie Lens Pop-Up, and provide an authentic space for many voices.

Independent Lens airs Monday nights on most PBS member stations. Check your local listings, and don’t miss an episode! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and join our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest news, updates, promotions, reviews, and schedule.

Visit the TV schedule to learn more about the season lineup.