Bookmark this page to learn more about the Independent Lens documentaries currently available to watch online at any given moment in time, either on this site or via the PBS app (AppleTV, Amazon Fire, or Roku). Every film listed here is free to stream for a limited time.
While these award-winning documentaries are also a great discussion starter about topics that affect us every day, as a nation, as a society, each one is also a good film in their own right. For your convenience, we here at Independent Lens have collected them all in one easy place — which we will update here — so you can watch now and share with your friends. Revisit these Indie Lens encores new and older, throughout the year! Independent Lens: Great documentaries that stay with you.
Here are newly added encore films (for a limited time only, with streaming dates):
Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity (available until 9/27/17)
Happiness (available 8/7)
Peace Officer (available until 10/11/2017)
1971 (until 10/17/17)
The Weather Underground (until 10/17/17)
Trials of Muhammad Ali (until 10/17/17)
Marwencol (available until 10/24)
Keep checking back here or to our Watch Video page for more titles.
Not just a choreographer, Elizabeth Streb is a wildly extreme action architect. Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity traces the evolution of her movement philosophy over 30 years as Streb pushes herself and her dancers from the ground, to the wall, and to the sky. The film culminates with her group’s gravity-defying performances in London’s Cultural Olympiad before the 2012 Olympics.
Nestled at the eastern end of the Himalayas, the tiny nation of Bhutan is famous for being the one place committed to “Gross National Happiness,” with an economy serving a culture based on Buddhist spiritual values. Over a decade after the King of Bhutan ushered in a new modern era by approving the use of television and the internet — while expressing concerns about whether they will bring more harm than good — the remote mountainside village of Laya is still without electricity. Here Peyangki, a dreamy and solitary nine-year old in training to be a monk, yearns for the modern world to come to him in the form of a flickering television screen.
William “Dub” Lawrence was a former sheriff who established and trained one of Utah’s first SWAT teams, only to watch in horror as that same unit killed his son-in-law in a controversial standoff years later. In Peace Officer, Dub, driven by an obsessive sense of mission, uses his investigative skills to uncover the truth about that incident and other officer-involved shootings in his community, while tackling larger questions about the changing face of police investigations nationwide.
In 1971, long before Edward Snowden’s revelations of NSA surveillance, a group of citizens broke into a small FBI office in Pennsylvania, took every file, and shared them with the public. Their actions exposed the FBI’s illegal surveillance program of law-abiding Americans. Now for the first time, these anonymous Americans who risked everything share their story publicly.
Characters of 1971
In 1969, as the Vietnam War was raging, a group of student activists announced its intention to overthrow the United States government – by any means necessary. In The Weather Underground, former members of one of America’s most notorious radical movements finally speak candidly about how they “brought the war home,” eluding one of the largest manhunts in FBI history.
This is the story of Ali’s toughest bout: his battle to overturn the five-year prison sentence he received for refusing U.S. military service. The film explores Ali’s exile years when he was banned from boxing and found himself in the crosshairs of conflicts concerning race, religion, and wartime dissent.
After being beaten into a coma, Mark Hogancamp is left brain-damaged and traumatized. He devises his own brand of therapy by constructing a 1/16th-scale World War II-era town in his backyard, and weaving complex storylines around his doll characters. Through Marwencol, Mark embarks on a long journey back into the real world, both physically and emotionally. “An astounding movie,” wrote Ty Burr in the Boston Globe. “All-American oddness that just keeps flowering into weirder, richer territory.”
Set against the sweeping panoramic vistas of the high plains, Indian Relay explores one of the most competitive, dangerous, and thrilling forms of horse racing practiced anywhere in the world today.
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) presents his take on the gap between rich and poor Americans in Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream. Gibney contends that America’s richest citizens have “rigged the game in their favor,” and created unprecedented inequality in the United States.
Why has it been so hard for Washington to fix our country’s broken immigration system? In Immigration Battle, a special two-hour feature film presentation from FRONTLINE and Independent Lens, acclaimed independent filmmakers Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini take viewers behind closed doors in Washington’s corridors of power to explore the political realities surrounding one of the country’s most pressing and divisive issues.
Go to our Watch Video page for all titles currently streaming online.
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