About Independent Lens

Independent Lens is America’s home for independent documentary film, airing Monday nights on most PBS member stations. Check your local listings, and don’t miss an episode.

Award-Winning Series

Each week we bring you an original documentary film made by one of the best independent filmmakers working today. Independent Lens films have won 19 Emmy Awards, 16 Peabody Awards, five duPont-Columbia University Awards, and have received 10 Academy Award nominations. Independent Lens won the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Continuing Series.

“There are few television franchises that have celebrated diversity and given voice to the voiceless as consistently and powerfully as Independent Lens on PBS.” (–Baltimore Sun)


This season, from fall to spring, Independent Lens presents a new group of award-winning films that will thrust viewers into the heart of conversations across America.

“At Independent Lens we think a lot about neighborhoods. It begins with our filmmakers, telling stories about their hometowns and from inside communities across the country,” said Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Executive Producer. “They take time to go deeper to make thought-provoking documentaries about the issues that divide us and the ideals and beliefs that bind us together. We are excited to launch our newest season on PBS, America’s Home for Documentaries.”

This season kicked off with these five provocative documentaries that each presented a powerful, previously undertold story:  Made in Boise, Decade of Fire, The Interpreters, Conscience Point and Attla.

Yusuf from Accept the Call, in snowy scene
Accept the Call

Independent Lens’ Winter 2020 lineup launches Monday, January 20 with Accept the Call, which follows the journey of a Somali father in Minnesota as he seeks to understand why his American son tried to join the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.

Also on the winter schedule is The First Rainbow Coalition (Jan. 27), which travels back in time to the groundbreaking 1960’s Chicago alliance between the Black Panthers, Young Lords, and Young Patriots; Cooked: Survival by Zipcode (Feb. 3), investigates the 1995 Chicago heatwave led to 739 deaths in a week, consisting mostly of poor, elderly, and African American residents; Leftover Women (Feb. 10), follows three successful Chinese women — who, despite thriving careers, are still labeled “leftover women,” or sheng nu, a derogatory term used in China to describe educated, professional women in their mid-20s and ’30s who are not married; We Believe in Dinosaurs (Feb. 17), where the Bible and science collide amid the battleground of a Kentucky creationism museum; Always in Season (Feb. 24), the first documentary to spotlight recent grassroots efforts to acknowledge the victims of lynching, repair the damage, and reconcile in four U.S. communities; and One Child Nation (Mar. 30), which explores the devastating impacts of China’s one-child policy from both a personal and wider perspective. 

Nanfu Wang as a child with parents
One Child Nation

Indie Lens Pop-Up

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, providing an authentic space for many voices. Selections this year include Decade of Fire, Always in Season, and Eating Up Easter.

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