Independent Lens Wins Two News & Documentary Emmys

Trials of Muhammad Ali director Bill Siegel with Independent Lens Executive Producer Lois Vossen. [Credit: Stephanie Berger]

Trials of Muhammad Ali director Bill Siegel with Independent Lens Executive Producer Lois Vossen. [Credit: Stephanie Berger]

Last night, the News & Documentary Emmy® Awards ceremony was held at Geffen Hall in New York City, and we were excited to learn that two Independent Lens films came away with Emmys. Congratulations to not only the winning filmmakers and all the Independent Lens films that were nominated, but to the full group of outstanding documentaries and series honored by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. All told, PBS had 57 nominations and 17 winners last night, the most of any network!

The Independent Lens films receiving News & Documentary Emmys were [drumroll]:

Continue reading

Posted in Awards | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Hispanic Heritage Month and The State of Arizona

Tamalada, by artist Carmen Lomas Garza, via Smithsonian collection

Tamalada, by artist Carmen Lomas Garza, via Smithsonian American Art Museum

What began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week became National Hispanic Heritage Month 20 years later and runs every year September 15 until October 15. The month is a time to celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The specific time period is significant because, as the official site reminds us, September 15 is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua; Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively; and Columbus Day, or Día de la Raza, is October 12.

To kick things off, many PBS stations will be re-broadcasting the Emmy-nominated Independent Lens film The State of Arizona on Wednesday, September 16 [check local listings]. The film gives “a sense of the issues as lived on the ground, of the energies marshaled by each side – so often missing from the reported news – and the human consequences of policymaking,” wrote Robert Lloyd in the L.A. Times. With immigration from south of the border continuing to be a hot topic nationwide, especially leading into a big election year, and with Hispanic Heritage Month being a good time for reflection, The State of Arizona is well-timed to lead to more discussion. Continue reading

Posted in Where to Watch | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#tbt Throwback Thursday Streaming Returns to Indie Lens

Promotional graphic showing hashtag TBT and Independent Lens logo.
While we put the finishing touches on our slate of exciting fall films, here’s your chance to catch up on recent Indie Lens hits. From the world’s wealthiest address to the serene monasteries of the Himalayas to the rock ‘n’ roll fairy tale of a lifetime, indulge your doc appetite for five consecutive weeks of encore streaming every #tbt. Check below for availability.

Continue reading

Posted in Online Viewing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Independent Lens Nominated for 10 News & Doc Emmys

Poster card announcing Indie Lens nominated for 10 News & Doc Emmy Awards, including Best Documentary for The Trials of Muhammad Ali and Bully

On the heels of the Primetime Emmy Award nomination for The Great Invisible, Independent Lens learned today that our series received 10 (count ’em, ten!) nominations for the 36th annual News & Doc Emmys, including three nominations for The Trials of Muhammad Ali and two for Bully, both films garnering a nom for Best Documentary. All told, PBS nabbed an Emmy-leading 57 nominations for Independent Lens, POV (American Promise, Fallen City, and When I Walk), FRONTLINE, American Experience, Nature, as well as many excellent stand-alone programs.

Here’s the full list of Emmy-nominated films that aired on Independent Lens: Continue reading

Posted in Awards | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Great Invisible Nominated for 2015 Emmy Award

2015 Emmy Award logo

We were excited to learn today that the Independent Lens film The Great Invisible, which aired on PBS in April, was just nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Exceptional Merit for Documentary Filmmaking. Kudos to director Margaret Brown and her whole team for the honor. The Hollywood Reporter called The Great Invisible “a powerful documentary that reminds those of us who’ve moved on to other worries that [the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill] is far from finished.”

Emmy winners will be revealed September 20. A full list of all nominees is here.

Posted in Awards, Independent Lens Season | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Last Chance to Watch 2015 PBS Online Film Festival

PBS Online Film Festival 2015 graphic

The 2015 PBS Online Film Festival returned last month with a new, excellent batch of short fictional, documentary, and animated films created by a host of gifted filmmakers in partnership with PBS member stations, POV, and other public television producers. Make sure to catch this diverse slate so you can vote for your favorites before the festival closes on July 17.

Here’s a quick glimpse of all 25 short films available. After you watch each film, remember to vote! Continue reading

Posted in Festivals, Online Viewing, Short Films | Tagged , | Leave a comment

And the Winner of the 2014-2015 Independent Lens Audience Award Is…

The winner of this season’s Independent Lens Audience Award, as chosen by voting viewers, is…. Kumu Hina!

Congratulatory image saluting Kumu Hina, winner of the 2015 Independent Lens Audience Award

Interestingly, Kumu Hina is not the first Independent Lens film to win the Audience Award that is about hula dance: Men of Hula won the award in 2008.

We heard from Kumu Hina filmmaker Dean Hamer, understandably ecstatic about the news:

The Kuma Hina team is thrilled and humbled to receive this award from Independent Lens viewers. It’s a wonderful reflection on the commitment of PBS and Pacific Islanders in Communications to bring forward voices that are rarely heard in American media and to reach audiences that are not served anywhere else. For all the native Hawaiians and indigenous peoples around the world, for all the māhū and those who fall outside the Western gender binary, we say mahalo nui loa – thank you – and aloha – love, honor and respect for all.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the voting, and for watching Independent Lens this past season. We bet the competition for next year’s Audience Award will be just as tough and close as this year’s.

Posted in Awards, Independent Lens Season | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Penelope Spheeris’ Decline of Western Civilization Rises Again

Editor’s note: While these aren’t Independent Lens films of course, the Decline films are some of our very favorite music docs, make for perfect summertime viewing, and are finally all out together on DVD. Read on for critic Noel Murray’s exclusive take on them, and a few more of his own favorites.

Filmmaker Penelope Spheeris surrounded by Poison (the band), in Decline of Western Civilization III the Metal Years

Filmmaker Penelope Spheeris surrounded by Poison (the band)

By Noel Murray

Each of director Penelope Spheeris’ three Decline of Western Civilization documentaries contains a moment where the various punk and metal bands featured in the films stand on the stage and read a disclaimer to the audience, warning them that by attending the show, they’re consenting to being photographed. Spheeris and her editors cut all the announcements together, being sure to keep in any moment where the men and women at the microphone insult their fans or mock the entire Decline project. These scenes are important, because they cut to the heart of what Spheeris’ films are all about: the flippant anti-authoritarianism of youth culture, the illusion that rockers and their fans are on the same level, and the disturbing awareness that being an anarchic rebel can only carry a person so far.

This week, Shout! Factory is releasing the three Declines in DVD and Blu-ray box sets, answering the demand from documentary devotees and music buffs who’ve been waiting for Spheeris to clear up any lingering rights issues and get her best work back out on home video. Watched in succession, 1981’s The Decline of Western Civilization, 1988’s The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years, and 1998’s The Decline of Western Civilization III tell a story about 20 years of life in the Los Angeles music scene — functioning almost like a rock musical version of Michael Apted’s Up series. It’s not just the announcement montage that these three have in common. They share a point of view, and a generosity of spirit that gives their subjects the benefit of the doubt whether they’re begging in the streets or living in a mansion.

Below are key moments from each of the Decline films, which help define both what they’re about individually, and how they all fit together. Continue reading

Posted in Guest Posts, Lists | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tony Sullivan and Limited Partnership Producer React to Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality

Tony Sullivan (wearing red glasses) and husband the late Richard Adams, of Limited Partnership

Tony Sullivan (at left) and husband Richard Adams

Naturally, when news of the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality came down, a 5-4 vote that the Constitution guarantees a right to same sex marriage, our thoughts immediately turned to the makers and main character of Limited Partnership.

We heard from the film’s co-producer Kirk Marcolina, and from Tony Sullivan, who with his longtime partner Richard Adams become one of the first same sex couples to be legally married in the world, in 1975. That marriage was challenged legally and they battled the government in the courts for years, in large part leading up to the Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage in June 2013 and again this month.  Their reactions to Friday’s momentous news: Continue reading

Posted in In the News, Where Are They Now? | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

19 Memorable Faces of Independent Lens’ 2014-15 Season

As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so rather than unleash many more words on you, here’s a photo gallery reminding you of some of the memorable faces from this just-concluded season of Independent Lens. We thank you for spending time with us over the past few months.

Peyangki and mother, in Happiness        John and Bonnie Raines, and their children, late '60s, before  the 1971 Citizens to Investigate the FBI break-in      Trey, Ty's best friend, Perkins, Oklahoma      Young Darius Clark Monroe, in bow tie, in front of family, in photograph shown in Evolution of a Criminal        Choreographer Elizabeth Streb, wearing trademark dark framed glasses, interviewed in Born to Fly        Pfc. Adam Winfield, from The Kill Team        Andrew, from Rich Hill        Jessica Posner Odede, at work in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya        Loha Singh, peering between a mass of wires in Kanpur India, in Powerless        Kumu Hina, with student Ho'onani, during Hawaiian culture class        From Through a Lens Darkly, black and white art photo of masculine and feminine people split screen         Young African American man is put up against chain link fence and frisked by undercover cops, from recreation in the film American Denial    littlehope-lookeehere          Hiroshi Ueda mourns his son, who died in the crash of West Japan Railways Train 5418M., Brakeless Twin Sisters (Mia visits Alexandra in Fresvik, Norway)           From Little White Lie: Lacey Schwartz as a child, walking with her mother om leafy path           oil-shrimp-tgi              Kasey reads a book in study, sitting outside on steps, from documentary Homestretch  Tony Sullivan and Richard Adams   take pics of themselves in a photobooth, 1970s; from Limited Partnership
Peyangki and mother, in Happiness
Posted in Independent Lens Season | Tagged , | Leave a comment