Independent Lens

Independent Lens is America’s home for independent documentary film.

Presented by the Independent Television Service (ITVS).

Episodes

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Season 24

  • Episode

    Hazing

    Hazing is a widespread, far-reaching practice fueled by tradition, secrecy, groupthink, power, and the desire to belong in fraternities and sororities on college campuses across the U.S. Filmmaker Byron Hurt embarks on a deeply personal journey to understand the underground rituals of hazing, revealing the abuse and the lengths college students will go to fit in.

  • Episode

    TikTok, Boom.

    What does it mean to be a digital native? TikTok, Boom. dissects the platform along myriad cross-sections—algorithmic, socio-political, economic, and cultural—to explore the impact of the history-making app. Balancing a genuine interest with healthy skepticism, delve into the security issues, global political challenges, and racial biases behind the platform.

  • Episode

    Move Me

    At 27, Kelsey Peterson dove into Lake Superior as a dancer and emerged paralyzed. But within the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) community, she found allies in her quest to discover who she is now and to dance with disability. When a cutting-edge trial surfaces, it tests her expectations of a possible cure. She finds herself both scared it might not work—and scared that it might.

  • Episode

    Children of Las Brisas

    In Venezuela, amidst a backdrop of poverty, murder, and corruption, the El Sistema youth orchestra offers children hope and the opportunity to pursue a life of art in spite of the harshness of the society around them. Yet the country’s spiraling collapse and political repression threatens the musicians’ dreams of a better life.

  • Episode

    The Big Payback

    An Evanston, Illinois rookie alderwoman led the passage of the first tax-funded reparations bill for Black Americans. While she and her community struggle with the burden to make restitution for its citizens, a national racial crisis engulfs the country. Will the debt ever be addressed, or is it too late for a reparations movement to finally get the big payback?

  • Episode

    No Straight Lines

    When Alison Bechdel received a coveted MacArthur Award for her best-selling graphic memoir Fun Home, it heralded the acceptance of LGBTQ+ comics in American culture. From DIY underground comix scene to mainstream acceptance, meet five smart and funny queer comics artists whose uncensored commentary left no topic untouched and explored art as a tool for social change.

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    The Picture Taker

    The vibrant life of Ernest Withers—civil rights photographer, and FBI informant—was anything but black and white. From his Memphis studio, Withers' nearly 2 million images were a treasured record of Black history but his legacy was complicated by decades of secret FBI service revealed only after his death. Was he a friend of the civil rights community, or enemy—or both?

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    Love in the Time of Fentanyl

    As fentanyl overdose deaths in Vancouver, Canada reach an all-time high, the Overdose Prevention Society opens its doors—a renegade safe injection site that employs current or former drug users. Its staff and volunteers save lives and give hope to a marginalized community, doing whatever it takes to remain open in this intimate documentary that looks beyond the stigma of injection drug users.

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    Outta the Muck

    Wade into the rich soil of Pahokee, Florida, a town on the banks of Lake Okeechobee. Beyond its football legacy, including sending over a dozen players to the NFL (like Anquan Boldin, Fred Taylor, and Rickey Jackson), the fiercely self-determined community tells their stories of Black achievement and resilience in the face of tragic storms and personal trauma.

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