TOWER Full Film

In 1966, a gunman rode the elevator to the 27th floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire. TOWER, a documentary mixing animation and live-action, shares the untold story of America’s first mass school shooting, when the worst in one man brought out the best in so many others.

TOWER – Campus Carry: Guns at the University of Texas

Fifty years after a gunman opened fire from the tower at the University of Texas — the first recorded mass shooting in US history and the subject of the Independent Lens film TOWER — students can now carry loaded handguns on campus after the adoption of the “campus carry law.” Proponents of the law, affecting all … READ MORE

Keith Maitland and Claire Wilson James Talk About TOWER

Keith Maitland’s TOWER reveals the untold stories of the witnesses, heroes, and survivors of America’s first mass school shooting, at the University of Texas, 1966. Here Maitland talks about the film’s unique production which combined archival footage with rotoscope animation, while survivor Claire Wilson James, the first person shot that day, talks about being able … READ MORE

History or Hate: America’s Controversial Monuments to White Supremacy

The thing about claiming territory and property is that it takes up space, and taking up space literally makes a huge statement; it becomes a platform for discussing who built something there, and why. So when black musician Daryl Davis shares his collection of former KKK members’ robes and his hopes of opening a “Museum … READ MORE

Racial Pornography

In this excerpt from the Independent Lens documentary Birth of a Movement, the concept of “racial pornography” is discussed alongside startling scenes from D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation. The danger of racial pornography is that it “makes people’s fantasies [about race] literal,” fantasies that in Griffith’s film involve exaggerated scary caricatures of blackness.

D.W. Griffith: Son of the South

In this excerpt from the Independent Lens documentary Birth of a Movement, we learn about the childhood of iconic silent filmmaker D.W. Griffith, director of Birth of a Nation, who was born 10 years after the end of the Civil War. He grew up in a South that was romanticized for him through folklore despite … READ MORE

The Clansman

In this excerpt from the Independent Lens documentary Birth of a Movement, director D.W. Griffith, “at the top of his game,” is introduced to the book The Clansman by Thomas Dixon. When The Clansman became a stage play, its pro-KKK, “viciously racist” point of view resulted in protests and race riots — foreshadowing what was … READ MORE

The Bad Kids – Trailer

Located in an impoverished community in California’s Mojave Desert is Black Rock Continuation High School, an alternative school for at-risk students. Every student here has fallen so far behind in credits that they have little hope of earning a diploma at a traditional high school. Black Rock is their last chance. But extraordinary educators like … READ MORE

Arranging to Meet His Sister’s Killer

In this excerpt from the Independent Lens documentary The Witness, Bill Genovese goes to the New York Office of Correctional Services to arrange a meeting (or confrontation) with the man — Winston Moseley — who murdered his sister Kitty Genovese in Queens, New York nearly 50 years ago. By meeting him, Bill wants to know … READ MORE

Returning to Kitty’s Murder Scene

In this excerpt from Independent Lens documentary The Witness, Bill Genovese, whose sister Kitty Genovese was murdered in Queens, New York in a notorious 1964 case that became front page news, returns to scene of the crime with Charlie Skoller, the prosecutor in Kitty’s trial. In a peaceful residential neighborhood, Skoller describes the brutality of … READ MORE

A Collection of Robes

In this excerpt from Independent Lens documentary Accidental Courtesy, musician Daryl Davis reveals his shocking hobby: collecting robes and hoods of former Klan members, including those who were Grand Dragons and Imperial Wizards (the top ranking member) in the KKK. Davis says as shameful as they may be, he keeps these garments because they’re a … READ MORE

What Was Ours

A tribal elder and Vietnam vet, who hasn’t left the Wind River Indian Reservation in over 40 years, visits the underground archives of Chicago’s Field Museum with two young Arapaho to explore ancestral objects kept in boxes for many years. Together they try to learn how these artifacts vanished from their tribe in the first … READ MORE