Independent Lens: Season 18 (2016 - 2017)

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Season 18
Independent Lens

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 3, 2016

The Season 18 premiere features "Best of Enemies," about the heated debates between conservative William F. Buckley and liberal Gore Vidal that ABC News aired during its coverage of the 1968 Republican and Democratic presidential conventions in an effort to boost its paltry TV ratings. The disdain that the two felt for one another dripped from their every syllable and led the set-tos to become personal. The result: must-watch TV; and the dawn of the modern age of contentious public discourse.

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Air date: Dec 26, 2016

After breaking up with his girlfriend, Indian-American actor-comedian Ravi Patel heads to India on a family vacation; and decides to find a wife the traditional way. That is to say, his parents arrange for him to meet a procession of potential matches.

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Air date: Jan 2, 2017

The story of a quirky young woman's pursuit of love and freedom. Michelle Smith is legally blind and on the autism spectrum; and, after graduating from Perkins School for the Blind near Boston, she finds herself walled off from the world until, during an alumni weekend, a school administrator offers her an animation internship in L.A. As she prepares for the challenge, she falls for a young man and, with him, becomes involved in fetish role-playing, through which she achieves empowerment.

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Air date: Jan 9, 2017

"Containment" examines the dangers presented by nuclear waste to both current and future generations. The documentary spotlights the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M., the site of an incident in 2014; the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima, Japan, which suffered a meltdown after the 2011 tsunami; and the Savannah River Site, a former nuclear weapons facility in South Carolina. Also: an excerpt from "Uranium Drive-In," about a proposed uranium mill in Colorado.

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Air date: Jan 16, 2017

A young Northern Arapaho journalist, Northern Arapaho student and Eastern Shoshone elder set out to reclaim tribal artifacts from various museums around the country and return them to the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

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Air date: Jan 23, 2017

Bill Genovese investigates the 1964 murder of his sister Kitty, who was stabbed to death in Queens while 38 bystanders did nothing-at least, that's how the story was reported by the New York Times. Those "facts" led to the development of "the bystander effect" within psychology; influenced politicians to pass "Good Samaritan" laws; and spurred Bill to volunteer for Vietnam, where he lost his legs. But those "facts" weren't accurate, as Genovese discovers through the course of the documentary.

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Air date: Feb 6, 2017

A protest in 1915 Boston led by civil rights activist William Monroe Trotter (1872-1934) against D.W. Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation," which depicted the KKK as heroes and African-Americans as racist caricatures, is recalled.

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Air date: Feb 13, 2017

The story of R&B-blues musician Daryl Davis' unusual hobby: meeting and befriending KKK and neo-Nazi members, many of whom have never before met a black person, in an attempt to sway them away from their racist views. The documentary accompanies him on a journey across America in which he meets with former and current members of the Klan, neo-Nazis and Black Lives Matter activists who dismiss his effort as a waste of time.

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Air date: Feb 14, 2017

Animated reenactments, archival footage and interviews with survivors piece together the tense afternoon of August 1, 1966, when sniper Charles Whitman opened fire on random people from the clock tower at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Air date: Mar 20, 2017

A year at a California school for at-risk kids is chronicled through the eyes of three students, including new dad Lee, who's yet to grasp the responsibilities of fatherhood; Jennifer, who was sexually abused; and Joey, whose home life is unstable. Along with their classmates, they've been deemed lost causes by the system writ large. The school's principal and teachers see potential where others do not, however, and strive to help the students overcome whatever it is that's holding them back.

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