Community Cinema Turns 7 With an Intense Line-Up

Drum roll, please … Independent Lens is excited to announce the 7th season of Community Cinema, our program offering free screenings in communities nationwide.

Join us this season as we kick-off the series with Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Maro Chermayeff. This landmark documentary miniseries (based on the bestselling book of the same name by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn) follows six actress-advocates — America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union, and Olivia Wilde — as they travel to Africa and Asia and meet inspiring, courageous individuals who are confronting oppression and developing real, meaningful solutions.

This season takes on diverse issues from current news headlines, such as As Goes Janesville, Brad Lichtenstein’s three-year chronicle about the debate over the future of America’s middle class, a debate that has become a pitched battle over unions in the normally tranquil state of Wisconsin; Macky Alston’s Love Free or Die, a portrait of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay elected bishop in the high church traditions of Christendom, whose 2003 elevation in the New Hampshire diocese ignited a worldwide firestorm in the Anglican Communion; and Soul Food JunkiesByron Hurt’s personal look at the black community’s love affair with soul food, its significance, and its health consequences.

Click the link to view more previews and the whole line-up.

This year, we’ll continue to showcase the Women and Girls Lead campaign — a multiyear public media initiative to focus, educate, and connect citizens worldwide in support of the issues facing women and girls — now nearing the end of its second year.

  • Solar Mamas, by Jehane Noujaim, introduces the women of India’s Barefoot College, which provides rural women living in poverty with an education that empowers them to make their communities self reliant and sustainable.
  • Kristy Guevara-Flanagan’s Wonder Women: The Untold Story of American Superheroines traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of the original comic book Amazon and how it reflects society’s anxieties about women’s liberation.
  • Revolutionary Optimists, by Nicole Newnham and Maren Grainger-Monsen, which takes a look at a teacher who empowers the children of Kolkata’s slums to become leaders in improving their own community’s health.

Here’s the whole line-up:

SEPTEMBER 2012 - Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
by Maro Chermayeff, Jamie Gordon, Mikaela Beardsley
A landmark series based on the book by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky follows celebrity activists America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union, and Olivia Wilde as they travel through six countries to meet inspiring, courageous individuals confronting oppression and developing real, meaningful solutions for women and girls through health care, education, and economic empowerment.

OCTOBER 2012 - As Goes Janesville
by Brad Lichtenstein
America’s middle class is dwindling, and the debate over how to save it is nowhere fiercer than in the normally tranquil state of Wisconsin. In Janesville, as jobs disappear and families are stretched to their breaking point, citizens and politicians are embroiled in an ideological battle about how to turn things around.

NOVEMBER 2012 - Solar Mamas
by Jehane Noujaim
Rafea — a 30-year-old Jordanian mother of four — is traveling outside of her village for the first time to attend a solar engineering program at India’s Barefoot College. She will join other poor women from Guatemala, Kenya, Burkina Faso, and Colombia in learning concrete skills to create change in their communities.

JANUARY 2013 - Soul Food Junkies
by Byron Hurt
Soul food lies at the heart of African American cultural identity. The black community’s love affair with soul food is deep-rooted, complex, and in some cases, deadly. Soul Food Junkies puts this culinary tradition under the microscope to examine both its significance and its consequences.

FEBRUARY 2013 - The Powerbroker
by Bonnie Boswell
Whitney M. Young, Jr. was one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders of the civil rights era. As executive director of the National Urban League, he took the struggle for equality directly to the powerful white elite, gaining allies in business and government, including three presidents.

MARCH 2013 - Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines
by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan
Trace the fascinating evolution and legacy of the original comic book Amazon, Wonder Woman. From her creation in the 1940s to the superhero blockbusters of today, pop culture’s representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation.

APRIL 2013 - The Island President
by Jon Shenk, Bonni Cohen, and Richard Berge
Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed is confronting a problem greater than any world leader has ever faced — the literal survival of his country and everyone in it. His is the most low-lying country in the world; a minor rise in sea level would literally erase it from the map.

MAY 2013 - The Revolutionary Optimists
by Nicole Newnham and Maren Grainger-Monsen
Amlan Ganguly teaches the children of Kolkata’s slums to become leaders in improving their own community’s health and sanitation. Using street theater, dance, and data as their weapons, the children have cut malaria and diarrhea rates in half, increased polio vaccination rates, and turned garbage dumps into playing fields.

JUNE 2013 - Love Free or Die
by Macky Alston
Love Free or Die is about a man who has two defining passions that the world cannot reconcile: his love for God and for his partner Mark. The film is about church and state, love and marriage, faith and identity — and openly gay Bishop Eugene Robinson’s struggle to dispel the notion that God’s love has limits.

To find the next screening near you or get involved in the issues covered in these films, visit the Community Cinema website.

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