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 16 George Foster Peabody Awards, five Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, two Primetime and 11 News & Documentary Emmy Awards, and have received eight Academy Award nominations. Independent Lens won the 2013, 2014, and 2015 International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Continuing Series.

This season, from winter to summer, Independent Lens presents a new group of award-winning films that will thrust viewers into the heart of conversations at the center of current American life: From explorations of love and living history, from racism in America to teenagers overcoming the odds, from the reclamation of Native American artifacts to the dangers of drone warfare, these great documentary films will stay with you and spark conversations. As Independent Lens Executive Producer Lois Vossen said, “In a moment when our country may feel irrevocably divided these films spark conversations to help us find common ground.”

Independent Lens will travel the nation to find the stories that will stay with you long after the credits roll: two films that explore tragic incidents of gun violence that shook the nation: Newtown, about the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, and TOWER, about the 1966 mass shooting at the University of Texas. The Witness offers a fresh look at the notorious 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese, which quickly became a symbol of urban apathy. Race and identity — both cultural and personal — are explored in several films including Accidental Courtesy, a profile of an African American musician on a quest to fight racism by befriending members of the KKK; Best and Most Beautiful Things, about a young blind woman’s journey of self-discovery; Birth of a Movement, about the racial uproar that surrounded the 1915 release of D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation; What Was Ours, about Native Americans seeking to reclaim lost tribal artifacts; and Real Boy, the story of a transgender teenager on a journey to find his voice.

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.