Independent Lens: Season 13 (2011 - 2012)

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Season 13
Independent Lens

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 13, 2011

Season 13 premieres with new host Mary-Louise Parker introducing "Wham! Bam! Islam," about the challenges involving "The 99," a comic book about Muslim superheroes created by Kuwaiti psychologist Naif Al-Mutawa. He raised $7 million in capital, hired Marvel comic veterans and released the first issue during Ramadan 2006, but it was banned in Saudi Arabia and Middle East sales failed to meet expectations. As a result, he tried to go global without sacrificing the comic's underlying Muslim ideals.

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Air date: Oct 20, 2011

"Donor Unknown" charts the story of 20-year-old JoEllen Marsh, who was raised by two mothers in Pennsylvania, as she searches for her sperm-donor father, known only as "Donor 150." Thanks to an online registry for the children of sperm donors, she meets half-siblings that she never knew existed; and, thanks to a New York Times article about her quest that he just happens to see in a Venice, Cal., coffee shop, eventually manages to connect with her biological dad.

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Air date: Oct 27, 2011

"Lives Worth Living" tells the story of the disability rights movement in America, which began after WWII when disabled veterans returned home; and culminated in 1990 with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The documentary includes remarks from the movement's pioneers, including Fred Fay (1940-2011) and Judi Chamberlin (1944-2010); former congressman Tony Coelho; and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

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Air date: Nov 3, 2011

"Deaf Jam" chronicles the experiences of Aneta Brodski, a deaf Israeli teen living in New York, as she moves from American Sign Language poetry, where body movements convey meaning, into the spoken-word slam scene and collaborates with Palestinian slam poet Tahani Salah on a politics-transcending performance.

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Air date: Nov 17, 2011

Anne Makepeace's "We Still Live Here—As Nutayunean" tells the story of linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird's work to resurrect the long-forgotten language of the Wampanoag (the Native Americans who saved the Pilgrims from starvation). The documentary details what led Baird, in 1994, to begin the effort to return the dormant language to the living; and also explains the factors that led to the language's extinction a century ago.

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Air date: Dec 22, 2011

"The Woodmans" charts the short life of influential photographer Francesca Woodman, who took her own life in 1981 at the age of 22. The profile includes comments from her parents, artists George and Betty Woodman; and brother Charles Woodman.

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Air date: Dec 29, 2011

"These Amazing Shadows" focuses on the National Film Registry, an eclectic collection of movies considered to be "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the National Film Preservation Board. Included: clips from many of the films; remarks from Librarian of Congress James Billington; such directors as Barbara Kopple, Christopher Nolan, Rob Reiner, John Singleton and John Waters; such actors as Tim Roth, Debbie Reynolds and Zooey Deschanel; and film critics and historians.

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Air date: Jan 12, 2012

The five-part "Have You Heard From Johannesburg?," a history of the global anti-apartheid movement, opens with "Road to Resistance," which recalls the 1948 implementation of government-sanctioned discrimination in South Africa. The African National Congress launches a nonviolent campaign against apartheid, but its leaders are forced underground or, like Nelson Mandela, imprisoned. ANC deputy president Oliver Tambo, meanwhile, travels the world in search of support for the anti-apartheid cause.

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Air date: Jan 12, 2012

Part 2 of 5 of "Have You Heard From Johannesburg?" examines "The New Generation," and its effort to overturn South Africa's apartheid system. Included: the refusal of western nations to boycott South Africa; a youth uprising in the township of Soweto; the 1977 murder of activist Steve Biko.

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Air date: Jan 19, 2012

Part 3 of 5 of "Have You Heard From Johannesburg?," "From Selma to Soweto," details the anti-apartheid movement in the U.S., where in 1986 legislation was passed that imposed sanctions on South Africa over the objections of President Reagan.

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