Independent Lens: Season 7 (2005 - 2006)

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Season 7
Independent Lens

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 11, 2005

"One Nation Under a Groove," a profile of Parliament Funkadelic that features animation (including an "Afronaut" character voiced by Eddie Griffin) to explore P-Funk's unique mix of rock and R&B, and its rebellious vibe---tightly controlled by mastermind George Clinton, whose 50-year career links doo-wop and hip-hop. "It was just a party," says singer Nona Hendryx.

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Air date: Oct 18, 2005

"En Route to Baghdad" profiles Sergio Vieira de Mello, a charismatic and dedicated UN diplomat from Brazil who was killed in an explosion at the UN mission in Iraq in August 2003. Filmmaker Simone Duarte, a onetime Brazilian TV journalist, chronicles Vieira de Mello's postings in Mozambique, Cambodia and East Timor, and elicits testimonials from more than 30 observers, including Secretary General Kofi Annan. Recalls one colleague: "You wanted to stay near Sergio. He made us all look good."

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Air date: Oct 25, 2005

"The Last Cowboy" follows South Dakota cattle rancher Vern Sager from 1980 to 2004---through frigid winters, dry summers and prices that are never high enough. Perhaps that's why Vern's six siblings are all in other lines of work. His son, Mark, doesn't stay on the ranch, either---he's a rodeo rider. And, in 2003, Vern's wife, Carol, also leaves the ranch. "Carol rode off into the sunset, but I haven't yet," says Vern ruefully. "[She said] I cared more about my cows than I did her."

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Air date: Nov 8, 2005

"A Family at War" follows the parents and widow of a soldier killed in Iraq as they come to grips with their loss, each in a different way. Mike McKay, a retired lieutenant colonel, is sad but proud of his son, Jeffrey, an Army lieutenant who died in April 2003. So is Jeff's widow, Jenna, an Army lieutenant herself. But she comes to question her own future in the military. And for Jeff's mother, Roxanne, grief is soon tinged with anger as she comes to believe that "my son's death was in vain."

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Air date: Nov 15, 2005

"Mirror Dance" puts a human face on the impact of Cold War politics with a touching profile of Cuban ballerinas Margarita and Ramona de Saá, twin sisters who became estranged after Margarita left her home permanently for the U.S. in 1964. Margarita, who joined the Pennsylvania Ballet Company before opening her own company, is shown in a heart-wrenching reunion with her sister in Havana's airport, her first trip back to Cuba in nearly 40 years.

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Air date: Nov 22, 2005

"Race Is the Place" is a provocative and unsettling look at racism in America, featuring insightful commentary---both angry and humorous---from artists, poets, rappers and comedians. The film includes footage of racist depictions of minorities in cartoons and commercials. Included are comments from comic Ahmed Ahmed, performance artist Kate Rigg, and poets Mayda Del Valle and Haunani-Kay Trask.

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Air date: Nov 29, 2005

"Maid in America" features poignant profiles of three Latina immigrants who work as nannies and housekeepers in Los Angeles, and includes interviews with the women and their employers. The women include Telma, a nanny for a couple's son; Eva, a housekeeper working toward an accounting degree; and Judith, who left her daughters in Guatemala to work in the U.S. Directed by Anayansi Prado.

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Air date: Dec 13, 2005

"Seoul Train" movingly examines the plight of North Koreans who flee in hopes of a better life elsewhere, despite the possibility of forced return if they're caught living in China. The film follows two families who try to leave, and includes comments from those aiding their flight. Also: interviews with Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Marine Buissonniere of Doctors Without Borders.

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Air date: Dec 20, 2005

"Sisters: Portrait of a Benedictine Community" is an earnest look at monastic life that profiles the women of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minn. In candid interviews, the sisters discuss such issues as aging, finding balance in their lives and how they chose their path. "I truly got a call one day, just an idea in my head," says Sister Mary Ann Koth, a former environmental-resource manager. "And here I am in something that is a journey of the heart."

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Air date: Dec 27, 2005

Friendship takes center stage in five short films that examine the bonds between pals, including Keith Bearden's clever film "The Raftman's Razor," about two teens who become obsessed with a comic book; and Dong Hyeuk Hwang's sweet entry "Miracle Mile," which tells the story of a Korean girl searching for her adopted brother, and the taxi driver who tries to help her. Also: Christopher Newberry's "Agora"; Shira Avni's "John and Michael"; and Angelique Midthunder's "Reservation Warparties."

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