Independent Lens

Watch Independent Lens

  • 1999
  • 23 Seasons
  • 7.9  (578)

Independent Lens is series on PBS that airs dramatic and documentary films. The series is always hosted by a well-known actor or actress. The films that the show airs usually have been on the independent theater circuit and have received wide-acclaim and awards. The show is called Independent Lens because the films highlighted in the series are all shot by independent directors and producers. There is no big studio or corporate influence. The films all deal with contemporary social issues or international political concerns. Some of the films that Independent Lens has shown have gone on to win Academy Awards for best documentary films. One example of this is the documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room. This film dealt with the rise and fall of the Enron corporation, which resulted in many of the firm employees losing their pensions because the company have been lying in its accounting. Each episode is a film dealing with a contemporary topic. Sometimes the series tackles difficult issues such as documentaries filmed in war-town regions or a drug abuser's home. Other episodes are more informative-based with a light-hearted look at an aspect of American life, such as episodes looking at popular cuisines. There are episodes that deal with the rise of hip-hop music and even one dedicated to teenagers preparing for prom. The stated goal of the series is to show viewers an aspect of the world by taking them to a corner that they otherwise would not see. The films shown on Independent Lens are of a diverse nature. There are episodes that focus on the historical backgrounds of comic book characters. There is episode that examines the difficulties between the rich and poor in America by focusing on one street in New York City that goes through bad neighborhood and good neighborhoods. Sometimes the series focuses on problems from a global perspective looking an political and finances and other issues that span several different countries. Other times, the episodes pick a town or a street and take a narrow focus on some issue there. Every year, viewers vote on what the best documentary film was and it receives the Audience Award.

Independent Lens
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Seasons
A Once and Future Peace
16. A Once and Future Peace
May 23, 2022
A Seattle-based restorative justice program based on Indigenous peacemaking circles aims to bring healing to families and communities while breaking the cycle of incarceration.
Scenes From the Glittering World
15. Scenes From the Glittering World
May 16, 2022
Three Indigenous students experience the highs and lows of adolescence while attending one of the most remote high schools in the United States. Living in the uniquely beautiful but isolated Diné community within the Navajo Nation reservation, they navigate life as teenagers and dream of a glittering future.
When Claude Got Shot
14. When Claude Got Shot
May 9, 2022
After being shot in the face by 15-year-old Nathan King, Claude's path to recovery leads to forgiveness. But that path is paved with the complexities of race, violence, and justice.
Try Harder!
13. Try Harder!
May 2, 2022
San Francisco's Lowell High, one of the best public schools in the country, draws high achievers from across the city into a fiercely competitive universe. Follow seniors as the pressure to impress admissions officers at elite universities intensifies.
AWARE: Glimpses of Consciousness
12. AWARE: Glimpses of Consciousness
April 25, 2022
Researchers take you on a mind-blowing journey to investigate the mysteries of consciousness, connecting the dots between spirit and body.
Writing With Fire
10. Writing With Fire
March 28, 2022
Meet the women journalists of India's only all-female news network, who risk everything in a male-dominated world to uncover their country's political inequities.
Apart
9. Apart
February 21, 2022
Three unforgettable formerly incarcerated mothers, jailed for drug-related charges, fight to overcome alienation and the impact of America's War on Drugs.
Bulletproof
8. Bulletproof
February 14, 2022
In an era of mass shootings, lockdown drills and teacher firearms training are as much a part of life in American schools as homecoming dances and basketball practice.
Owned: A Tale of Two Americas
7. Owned: A Tale of Two Americas
February 7, 2022
Exposé on how the American housing policy market has been manipulated for years in discriminatory ways.
Missing in Brooks County
6. Missing in Brooks County
January 31, 2022
The deadliest part of a migrant's journey is just beyond the border. For those missing, one man offers a last hope.
A Reckoning in Boston
5. A Reckoning in Boston
January 17, 2022
A white filmmaker sets out to document students of color enrolled in Boston's Clemente Course in the Humanities. He finds out that when it comes to exploring the city's history of racism and gentrification, it's his own education he needs to reckon with.
Home From School: The Children of Carlisle
4. Home From School: The Children of Carlisle
November 23, 2021
Northern Arapaho tribal members travel to Pennsylvania to retrieve the stories and the remains of children who died at Carlisle Indian boarding school in the 1880s. More than a century later, will these Native American boys finally come home?
Duty Free
3. Duty Free
November 22, 2021
Fired from a lifelong job, a 75-year-old mom teams up with her son to reclaim her future through bucket list adventures. Her journey uncovers the economic insecurity faced by millions of Americans.
Storm Lake
2. Storm Lake
November 15, 2021
Go inside The Storm Lake Times, a Pulitzer-winning newspaper serving an Iowa town that has seen its share of changes. Editor Art Cullen and his family dedicate themselves to keeping the paper alive as local journalism across the country dies out.
Ferguson Rises
1. Ferguson Rises
November 8, 2021
Michael Brown Sr.'s son was killed in 2014 by white police officer Darren Wilson, an event that fueled the global Black Lives Matter movement. But his personal story seeking justice and healing has not been told until now.
Description

Independent Lens is series on PBS that airs dramatic and documentary films. The series is always hosted by a well-known actor or actress. The films that the show airs usually have been on the independent theater circuit and have received wide-acclaim and awards. The show is called Independent Lens because the films highlighted in the series are all shot by independent directors and producers. There is no big studio or corporate influence.

The films all deal with contemporary social issues or international political concerns. Some of the films that Independent Lens has shown have gone on to win Academy Awards for best documentary films. One example of this is the documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room. This film dealt with the rise and fall of the Enron corporation, which resulted in many of the firm employees losing their pensions because the company have been lying in its accounting.

Each episode is a film dealing with a contemporary topic. Sometimes the series tackles difficult issues such as documentaries filmed in war-town regions or a drug abuser's home. Other episodes are more informative-based with a light-hearted look at an aspect of American life, such as episodes looking at popular cuisines. There are episodes that deal with the rise of hip-hop music and even one dedicated to teenagers preparing for prom. The stated goal of the series is to show viewers an aspect of the world by taking them to a corner that they otherwise would not see.

The films shown on Independent Lens are of a diverse nature. There are episodes that focus on the historical backgrounds of comic book characters. There is episode that examines the difficulties between the rich and poor in America by focusing on one street in New York City that goes through bad neighborhood and good neighborhoods.

Sometimes the series focuses on problems from a global perspective looking an political and finances and other issues that span several different countries. Other times, the episodes pick a town or a street and take a narrow focus on some issue there.

Every year, viewers vote on what the best documentary film was and it receives the Audience Award.

Independent Lens is a series that is currently running and has 23 seasons (471 episodes). The series first aired on August 9, 1999.

Where to Watch Independent Lens

Independent Lens is available for streaming on the PBS website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Independent Lens on demand at Vudu and PBS.

  • Premiere Date
    August 9, 1999
  • IMDB Rating
    7.9  (578)