Independent Lens: Season 14 (2012 - 2013)

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Season 14
Independent Lens

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 8, 2012

Chronicling three years in the lives of the residents of Janesville, Wis., following the 2008 closing of a century-old GM plant. For laid-off workers, that means seeking new employment in a decidedly difficult economic environment. Business leaders, meanwhile, seek a pro-business dynamic in hopes of attracting new companies to the region; and the state becomes engulfed in a political firestorm when Gov. Scott Walker champions a bill to end collective bargaining for public employees.

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Air date: Oct 29, 2012

The story of V. Gene Robinson, who became the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church when he was elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire in 2003. The documentary accompanies him to President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration, small-town churches and a 2008 Anglican gathering in London.

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Air date: Nov 5, 2012

A look at India's Barefoot College, which teaches rural and poor women how to create self-reliant, sustainable communities. One student, a mother of four from Jordan, leaves her village for the first time in order to learn about solar engineering. But her education is jeopardized by her husband, who threatens to divorce her and take away their children if she doesn't return home.

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Air date: Nov 12, 2012

A look at income disparity in the U.S. In Manhattan, 740 Park Ave. is home to the highest concentration of billionaires in the U.S.; about five miles away, in the South Bronx, the same road runs through the nation's poorest congressional district.

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Air date: Jan 14, 2013

Filmmaker Byron Hurt examines the soul-food tradition of black culture. Because soul food is often cooked with lots of fat, sugar and salt, it can lead to obesity and other health issues, as happened to Hurt's father, who died at age 63 from pancreatic cancer. Along the way, he talks with soul-food cooks, historians, doctors and everyday people; and details the socioeconomic conditions in predominantly black neighborhoods that can make it difficult for residents to find healthy food options.

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Air date: Jan 21, 2013

A portrait of visual artist Wayne White, whose work is an indelible part of American pop culture due to his contributions to "Pee-wee's Playhouse" and such music videos as Peter Gabriel's "Big Time." Those early successes were followed by a fall, however, a time accented by struggle, self-reflection and ultimately reinvention as a respected painter and performer. Included: remarks from Matt Groening, Paul Reubens, Mark Mothersbaugh, Todd Oldham, Gary Panter, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.

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Air date: Jan 28, 2013

Examining the debate over textbook standards as it plays out among members of the Texas State Board of Education, whose decisions on what and what not to include in textbooks wield major influence on publishers due to the state being one of the industry's biggest markets.

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Air date: Feb 18, 2013

Remembering Whitney Young, who led the National Urban League from 1961 until his death in 1971 at age 49. During those years, he played a pivotal role in expanding access to jobs, education and housing for blacks, primarily by forging personal relationships with business and political leaders. That approach led to criticism from some activists, who accused him of being a sellout. But as President Nixon observed at Young's funeral, "He knew how to accomplish what other people were merely for."

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Air date: Feb 25, 2013

Profiling Chinese artist-activist Ai Weiwei, who helped design Beijing's iconic Bird's Nest Olympic stadium and later criticized the Games as party propaganda. His opposition to his country's autocratic rule, which he voices in his art and on social media, has caused him many difficulties, as filmmaker Alison Klayman witnesses during the making of this documentary: Government authorities shut down Ai's blog, beat him up, demolish his studio and hold him in secret detention for 81 days.

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Air date: Apr 8, 2013

Eugene Jarecki's provocative "The House I Live In" examines America's 40-year war on drugs, which has resulted in more than $1 trillion in government spending, 45 million arrests and an incarceration rate that's the highest in the world. At the same time, illegal drugs have become cheaper and easier to get. The documentary shares stories from those on the front lines, including narcotics officers, drug dealers, grieving parents and reporter-turned-TV auteur David Simon ("The Wire").

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