From Evolution of a Criminal
Evolution of a Criminal

Now that we have a brief respite in our schedule to catch our breath, we’d like to share with you what’s coming next in this season of Independent Lens.  On the docket for January through June 2015: an Oscar “shortlisted” film, several International Documentary Association Award winners, and SXSW, Sundance, and Tribeca winners, in a diverse slate of films that will take you to practically every corner of the United States, from Hawaii to the Gulf of Mexico, as well as Afghanistan, Africa, and Haiti.

The season is highlighted by a special presentation of the three-part series A Path Appears, from the creative team behind Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. A Path Appears follows author/reporters Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and celebrity activists Malin Akerman, Mia Farrow, Ronan Farrow, Jennifer Garner, Regina Hall, Ashley Judd, Blake Lively, Eva Longoria, and Alfre Woodard to Colombia, Haiti, Kenya, and throughout the United States as they explore the roots of gender inequality, the devastating impact of poverty, and the ripple effects that follow — including sex trafficking, teen pregnancy, gender-based violence, and child slavery. In their travels, they meet with inspiring activists who are creating effective solutions to gender oppression, transforming lives, and providing a roadmap for sustainable future change.

Two of the boys from Rich Hill
Rich Hill

Kicking off the Winter/Spring 2015 season is Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo’s Rich Hill, a powerful look at poverty in a small Midwestern town, followed by Darius Clark Monroe’s acclaimed Evolution of a Criminal, in which the filmmaker returns to his Texas hometown to explore what led him to rob a bank as a teenager, and Dan Krauss’s harrowing war documentary The Kill Team.

The issue of race in America is explored through the lens of a landmark 1944 Jim Crow study in Llewellyn Smith’s American Denial, through the art of photography in the NAACP Image Award-nominated Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People by Thomas Allen Harris, and through a filmmaker’s own secret family history in Lacey Schwartz’s Little White Lie. Other highlights include Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly’s The Homestretch, about three resilient homeless teens in Chicago, Margaret Brown’s SXSW Award-winning The Great Invisible, which explores the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and Limited Partnership, Thomas Miller and Kirk Marcolina’s film about a gay couple’s 40-year fight for the right to marry.

“From explosive conversations about race in America, to the ongoing war in Afghanistan, to communities dealing with poverty and unrest, our winter/spring line-up features provocative explorations into many hot-button issues of our time,” says Independent Lens Deputy Executive Producer Lois Vossen. “We’ll continue to spark conversations by presenting independent voices and perspectives to help bridge gaps that threaten to divide us.”

The Great Invisible
The Great Invisible

Below is the season lineup from January-June 2015. All programs are at 10 p.m. ET (check local listings).

Monday, January 5, 2015
Rich Hill, by Tracy Droz Tragos & Andrew Droz Palermo
This Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning film follows three teenage boys in small town America as they struggle with isolation, broken families, and lack of opportunity. An immersive and realistic picture of growing up poor in America.

Monday, January 12, 2015
Evolution of a Criminal, by Darius Clark Monroe
Filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe returns to the scene of the crime to explore what led him to rob a bank as a teenager in Texas, though interviews with family, friends, law enforcement officials, and the victims in the bank. Executive Produced by Spike Lee.

Monday, January 19, 2015
The Kill Team, by Dan Krauss
This film goes behind closed doors to tell the harrowing story of a 21-year-old U.S. infantryman in Afghanistan who — with the help of his father — attempted to alert the military to heinous war crimes being committed by his platoon.

Monday, January 26, February 2, and February 9, 2015
A Path Appears, by Maro Chermayeff
Nicholas Kristof is joined by Malin Ackerman, Mia Farrow, Jennifer Garner, Regina Hall, Ashley Judd, Blake Lively, Eva Longoria, and Alfre Woodard to uncover gender oppression and human rights violations in the U.S. and around the world.

Monday, February 16, 2015
Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People, by Thomas Allen Harris
The first documentary to explore the role of photography in shaping the identity, aspirations, and social emergence of African Americans from slavery to the present, Through a Lens Darkly probes the recesses of American history through images that have been suppressed, forgotten, and lost.

Monday, February 23, 2015
American Denial, by Llewellyn Smith
Using the story of Gunnar Myrdal’s 1944 investigation of Jim Crow racism as a springboard, this film explores the power of unconscious biases and how the ideals of liberty, equality, and justice still impact notions of race and class today.

Monday, March 23, 2015
Little White Lie, by Lacey Schwartz
Filmmaker Lacey Schwartz grew up with two loving Jewish parents. When she discovers that the man she’s always assumed was her father is not her biological parent, she unlocks a powerful family secret about her real father’s identity.

Church burns, from Little Hope Was Arson
Little Hope Was Arson

Monday, April 6, 2015
Little Hope Was Arson, by Theo Love
In 2010, 10 East Texas churches were burnt down in one month, igniting the largest criminal investigation in the region’s history. A gripping portrait of a community terrorized from the inside out.

Monday, April 13, 2015
The Homestretch, by Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly
Three smart and ambitious Chicago teens brave frigid winters, high school pressures, and homelessness as they fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a future.

Monday, April 20, 2015
The Great Invisible, by Margaret Brown
Featuring unprecedented access to footage from the oilrig before the Deepwater Horizon spill, this film explores the stories behind the disastrous oil spill, from fallout to aftermath, and its continuing effects on a region dependent on nature.

Monday, May 4, 2015
Kumu Hina, by Dean Hamer & Joe Wilson
Kumu Hina, a native Hawaiian mahu (transgender) teacher, inspires a tomboyish young girl to claim her place as leader of an all-male hula troupe, while Hina searches for love and a fulfilling romantic relationship with an unpredictable Tongan man.

born to fly
Born to Fly

Monday, May 11, 2015
Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity, by Catherine Gund
The evolution of daredevil choreographer Elizabeth Streb’s movement philosophy as expressed through her technique, lifestyle, and challenge to assumptions about art, aging, injury, gender, and human possibility.

Monday, May 18, 2015
1971 by Johanna Hamilton
In 1971, eight citizens broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, took hundreds of damning secret files, and shared them with the public and the press. Now, for the first time ever, they tell their story.

June 15, 2015
Limited Partnership, by Thomas Miller & Kirk Marcolina
The story of a gay couple’s 40-year fight for the right to marry in the U.S. Decades before The Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, a Filipino American and an Australian fell in love and waged a battle for marriage equality.

View the full schedule here >>

For more on Independent Lens films past, present, and future, go to our website at http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/; to leave a comment after viewing any of our films, go to that film’s Talkback page [for example].