What Is the Audience Award?
At film festivals, the award that filmmaker most covet is the audience award. After all, these nonconventional filmmakers are telling stories not for fame or fortune, but to enlighten and entertain you — the audience.
After each Independent Lens television broadcast, the audience decides how a film measures up. At the end of each season, we tally the votes and honor one special film.
The 2012 Independent Lens Audience Award Winners
This five-part series chronicles the history of the global anti-apartheid movement that took on South Africa’s entrenched apartheid regime and its international supporters who considered South Africa an ally in the Cold War.
Cheryl Haworth is a young woman with a big dream: to be the strongest woman in the world. As the 300-pound U.S. Olympic weightlifter prepares for Beijing 2008, she struggles with injury, confidence, and her place in a world where larger women are not readily accepted.
Teenager Fred Martinez was a boy who was also a girl. There was a time his identity would have been celebrated; instead, it got him killed.
Mine is a powerful story about the essential bond between humans and animals, told against the backdrop of one of the worst disasters in U.S. history.
He was a drug addict, a convicted felon, a hustler and a shock jock. Petey Greene gave voice to the unheard on his raw and uncensored TV and radio programs.
With the 2008 pick, Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula, viewers were entertained and inspired by the only all-male hula school in Hawaii.
The 2007 audience favorite, China Blue, awakened viewers to the human cost behind retail clothing with a rare and poignant look into the lives of Chinese garment workers.
2006’s winner, The Devil's Miner, captivated viewers with the gripping story of 14-year-old Basilio and his 12-year-old brother working in the deadly Bolivian silver mines to earn enough money to attend school.
In 2005, audiences were moved by On a Roll, the story of Greg Smith, who, born with muscular dystrophy, has turned his physical challenges into his greatest strengths.
The story of one of the most distinctive vocalists of our time captured viewers’ hearts in 2004. Jimmy Scott: If You Only Knew was an overwhelming audience favorite.
Another inspirational story made the top of the charts in 2003. Heart of the Sea tells the story of Hawaiian surf pioneer Rell “Kapolioka'ehukai” Sunn.