Independent Lens

  • 1999
  • TV Show
  • TV-PG

Independent filmmakers are spotlighted in this anthology, which concentrates on documentaries, but occasionally features artist profiles and offbeat fictional films.

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Season 5, Episode 19 Every Child Is Born a Poet: The Life and Work of Piri Thomas

First Aired: April 6, 2004

“Every Child Is Born a Poet” profiles legendary “Nuyorican” bard Piri Thomas, the author of the groundbreaking 1967 autobiographical novel “Down These Mean Streets.” Poet, storyteller, teacher and proselytizer, Thomas is a whirlwind. To keep up, filmmaker Jonathan Robinson follows him frenetically, mixing re-creations (fanciful and realistic; in color and in black and white) with segments in which Thomas counsels kids and leads writing workshops for young offenders. His mantra: “I came from violence. Poetry was my way out. Poetry is wisdom.”

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  • Premiered: August 9, 1999
  • Rating: TV-PG
  • Premise: Independent filmmakers are spotlighted in this anthology, which concentrates on documentaries, but occasionally features artist profiles and offbeat fictional films. (more)

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