Independent Lens Episodes

1999, TV Show

Independent Lens Season 9 episodes

Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story Season 9, Episode 27

"Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story" recalls the 1977 kidnapping of schoolgirl Megumi Yokota from her Japanese hometown by North Korean agents, who took her to North Korea. The film also examines the efforts of Yokata's parents to find out what happened to her. In 2002, the North Korean government admitted to the kidnapping, and to the abduction of 14 other people. read more

Deep Water Season 9, Episode 26

"Deep Water" recalls amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst's efforts to compete in a round-the-world boat race in 1968. Crowhurst, who was ill-prepared for the trip and couldn't back out for financial reasons, fell far behind his competitors, so he began sending fake radio reports about his progress. Crowhurst apparently committed suicide. read more

The Cool School Season 9, Episode 25

"The Cool School" recalls the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, an art gallery started by curator Walter Hopps and artist Ed Kienholz that exhibited works from 1957 to 1966. read more

Writ Writer Season 9, Episode 24

"Writ Writer" recalls the efforts of jailhouse lawyer Fred Cruz (1939-86), a man incarcerated for robbery in Texas during the 1960s who taught himself how to file appeals, which led to his work representing other prisoners. read more

New Year Baby Season 9, Episode 23

"New Year Baby" chronicles filmmaker Socheata Poeuv's trip to Cambodia with her parents as she sets out to learn her family's history. read more

A Dream in Doubt Season 9, Episode 22

"A Dream in Doubt" examines hate crimes against minorities in the U.S. after the Sept. 11 attacks, including the shooting death of Balbir Singh Sodhi in Arizona. read more

Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula Season 9, Episode 21

"Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula" focuses on graduates of a men-only hula school who participate in a hula competition during the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival in Hawaii. Produced by filmmaker Lisette Marie Flanary. read more

King Corn Season 9, Episode 20

"King Corn" examines the corn-growing industry and the various products that are made with corn as filmmakers Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney raise corn on an acre of land in Iowa. read more

Water Flowing Together Season 9, Episode 19

"Water Flowing Together" profiles New York City ballet dancer Jock Soto as he prepares to retire from performing. The film includes footage of Soto getting ready for his final performance, and a segment on a trip to a Navajo reservation as he reconnects with his Native-American roots. read more

Compañeras Season 9, Episode 18

"Compañeras" profiles the all-female mariachi band Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles. Included: footage of the group performing; clips of the musicians as they face various personal struggles. read more

Iron Ladies of Liberia Season 9, Episode 17

"Iron Ladies of Liberia" examines the challenges facing President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and the women she appointed to governmental-leadership roles. The film focuses on the administration's first year as Johnson-Sirleaf and her staff tackle social and economic obstacles. read more

Hard Road Home Season 9, Episode 16

"Hard Road Home" examines the challenges faced by ex-convicts as they adjust to life after incarceration. The film focuses on the Exodus Transitional Community, a New York City-based organization (founded by Julio Medina) that offers aid to former inmates. Directed by Macky Alston. read more

Banished Season 9, Episode 15

"Banished" recalls the forced evictions of black families from their homes in the years after the Civil War, and focuses on such occurrences in Harrison, Ark., Forsyth County, Ga., and Pierce City, Mo. Directed by Marco Williams. read more

How Is Your Fish Today? Season 9, Episode 14

"How Is Your Fish Today?" tells the story of a Chinese screenwriter (Hui Rao) with writer's block who decides to live the life of a character he created. read more

American Made Season 9, Episode 13

"American Made" is a compelling look at family, faith and racism as a Sikh family is stranded on a desert road and family members try to flag down passing cars. read more

A Son's Sacrifice Season 9, Episode 12

"A Son's Sacrifice" looks at the challenges faced by a young Muslim who runs his father's slaughterhouse in New York City. read more

Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita Season 9, Episode 11

"Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita" follows the efforts of Dr. Jack Kessler as he researches methods to repair injured spinal cords using embryonic stem cells, a crusade he began after his daughter, Allison, was injured in a skiing accident and paralyzed from the waist down. Director Maria Finitzo's film also examines the ethical and political issues concerning embryonic stem-cell research. read more

Today's Man Season 9, Episode 10

"Today's Man" profiles Nicky Gottlieb, an autistic man who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at age 21. The film is directed Nicky's sister, Lizzie Gottlieb. read more

An Unreasonable Man Season 9, Episode 9

“An Unreasonable Man” explores the career of crusading consumer advocate Ralph Nader. Included: interviews and archival news footage. Directed by Henriette Mantel and Stephen Skrovan. read more

The Paper Season 9, Episode 8

“The Paper” examines challenges faced by student journalists working on Penn State's Daily Collegian. read more

Sisters in Law Season 9, Episode 7

“Sisters in Law” profiles state prosecutor Vera Ngassa and Judge Beatrice Ntuba in Kumba, Cameroon. Ngassa and Ntuba help women fight difficult abuse cases. read more

The Creek Runs Red Season 9, Episode 6

“The Creek Runs Red” examines the challenges facing residents of Picher, Okla., who live near the Tar Creek Superfund Site, an area polluted by lead and zinc mining from the late 1800s through the 1970s. read more

Miss Navajo Season 9, Episode 5

“Miss Navajo” follows contestants in the annual Miss Navajo Nation Pageant, including Crystal Frazier, who's seen preparing for the event, which requires participants to demonstrate skills in music, dance and the rigors of everyday tribal life. Included are comments from other contestants and previous pageant winners. Directed by Billy Luther. read more

Red White Black & Blue Season 9, Episode 4

Two WWII veterans return to the Alaska island of Attu and recall the May 1943 battle to retake Attu from the Japanese, who had occupied the island since June 1942. read more

Storm of Emotions Season 9, Episode 3

“Storm of Emotions” recalls the efforts of the Israeli police to oversee the evacuation of Israelis from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank in 2005. Directed by Yael Klopmann. read more

Please Vote for Me Season 9, Episode 2

“Please Vote for Me” examines the efforts of three 8-year-old students running for class monitor in an elementary school in Wuhan, China. The youngsters are shown campaigning for votes and participating in debates. read more

Wordplay Season 9, Episode 1

The ninth season begins with “Wordplay,” a portrait of crossword-puzzle creators and enthusiasts, with a focus on New York Times crossword-puzzle editor Will Shortz. Included: comments by celebrity aficionados such as Jon Stewart, Ken Burns and Bill Clinton. Directed by Patrick Creadon. read more

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Premiered: August 09, 1999, on PBS
Rating: TV-PG
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Premise: Independent filmmakers are spotlighted in this anthology, which concentrates on documentaries, but occasionally features artist profiles and offbeat fictional films.

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