‘Independent Lens’

(Pictured above: John Coltrane. Source: PBS)

PBS will launch a new season of its Independent Lens series this Monday, November 6, with a profile of legendary saxophonist John Coltrane.

John Scheinfeld wrote and directed Chasing Trane, in which Denzel Washington speaks Coltrane’s words. The 100-minute documentary follows Coltrane from his childhood in the Jim Crow South “to his hallowed tenure with Miles Davis — which pushed him to conquer his heroin addiction — to his triumphant run as leader of one of jazz’s most revered quartets.” Carlos Santana, President Bill Clinton, Common, Wynton Marsalis, Cornel West and Sonny Rollins provide commentary.

The documentary premieres Monday at 10 pm ET, but double-check for local day/time. You can find your PBS station on the PBS website.

Series Executive Producer Lois Vossen said ratings for Independent Lens have risen steadily, 44% over the last five years.

Upcoming Independent Lens documentaries include:

Shadow World by Johan Grimonprez (Monday, November 20, 9:30 pm ET)
Shadow World “reveals the shocking realities of the global arms trade — the only business that counts its profits in billions and its losses in human lives.”

Supergirl by Jessie Auritt (Monday, December 18, 10 pm ET)
Supergirl features Naomi Kutin, who “seems like a typical Orthodox Jewish preteen from New Jersey, until her extraordinary talent — breaking world powerlifting records — turns her into an international phenomenon and transforms her family.”

The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin by Jennifer M. Kroot (Monday, January 1, 2018, 10:30 pm ET). This documentary looks at the life and work of the creator of Tales of the City, and how he transformed “from a conservative son of the Old South into a gay rights pioneer whose novels have inspired millions.”

Unrest by Jennifer Brea (Monday, January 8, 10 pm ET). A PhD student who, months before her wedding “became progressively ill and finally bedridden. When told by her doctor it was ‘all in her head,’ her response was to start filming other sufferers from her bed, gradually deploying crews globally to document the patients that medicine forgot…. Unrest gives voice to the millions suffering from … Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.”

I Am Not Your Negro by Raoul Peck (Monday, January 15, 9 pm ET)
An Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary, “I Am Not Your Negro envisions the book James Baldwin never finished, a revolutionary and personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr.” Actor Samuel Jackson reads Baldwin’s words.

The Force by Peter Nicks (Monday, January 22, 10 pm ET) looks “inside the long-troubled Oakland Police Department as it struggles to confront federal demands for reform, a popular uprising following events in Ferguson, Missouri, and an explosive scandal.” Nicks won the Best Director Award, US Documentary, for The Force at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

I Am Another You by Nanfu Wang (Monday, January 29, 10 pm ET)
Chinese filmmaker Nanfu Wang follows “Dylan, a charismatic young drifter who left a comfortable home and loving family for a life of intentional homelessness.”

Winnie by Pascal Lamche (Monday, February 5, 10 pm ET)
Winnie considers the life and contribution of Winnie Mandela “to the struggle to bring down Apartheid from the inside.”

Rat Film by Theo Anthony (Monday, February 12, 9 pm ET)
Rat Film “uses the rat — as well as the humans who love them, live with them, and kill them — to explore the history of Baltimore.”

Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges & Universities
by Stanley Nelson and Marco Williams (Monday, Feb. 19, 9 pm ET) Described as both film and interactive project, Tell Them We Are Rising “explores the pivotal role that historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have played in American history, culture, and national identity.”

Dolores by Peter Bratt (Monday, February 26, 9 pm ET)
Dolores Huerta was “an equal partner in co-founding the first farmworkers union with Cesar Chavez,” yet “her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized.” She became “one of the most defiant feminists of the 20th century — and she continues the fight to this day, at the age of 87.”

About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

View All Articles

Leave a Comment