About Independent Lens

Young male firefighters at rest in a forest during a wildfire

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, 2015 and 2017 International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Continuing Series.

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 at the center of current American life. “Documentary film is soaring right now because it’s doing the incredible deep work of telling stories about people from across the country, all kinds of people who hold different beliefs,” said Lois Vossen, Independent Lens executive producer. “People see the news as divisive, and we’re not the news. We’re character-driven stories. PBS and Independent Lens have viewers in every state, from all backgrounds and our exceptional reach — 394 stations across the country —gives us the ability to be both local and national every time we work with a film.”

Independent Lens’ 2018-2019 lineup launches Monday, October 29 with Young Men and Fire (pictured above), a richly personal look at the lives of a western firefighting crew during one challenging season. Also on the fall schedule is Dawnland, which explores the devastating impact of the forced removal of Native American children from their families; The Judge, a look at the first woman appointed to the Middle East’s Shari’a (Islamic law) courts; The Cleaners, an eye-opening investigation into how Silicon Valley monitors online content; and Man on Fire, the story of an elderly Texas minister driven to a shocking act of protest. 

Highlights of the soon-to-be-announced Winter/Spring 2019 season include two of the most acclaimed documentaries of this summer: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Morgan Neville’s moving portrait of children’s TV pioneer Fred Rogers, and Eugene Jarecki’s unique meditation on Elvis and America, The King. Also premiering in 2019 is RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World (January 28), a celebration of the Native American musicians who transformed blues, jazz and rock. 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.