Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth
Most famous for her seminal novel The Color Purple, writer/activist Alice Walker celebrates her 70th birthday. Born February 9, 1944, into a family of sharecroppers in rural Georgia, she came of age during the violent racism and seismic social changes of mid-20th-century America. Her mother, poverty and participation in the civil rights movement were the formative influences on her consciousness, becoming the inherent themes in her writing. The first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Literature, Walker continues to shine a light on global human rights issues. Her dramatic life is told with poetry and lyricism, and includes interviews with Steven Spielberg, Danny Glover, Quincy Jones, Howard Zinn, Gloria Steinem, Sapphire and Walker herself.
Independent Lens: Las Marthas
The annual debutante ball in Laredo, Texas, lasts an entire month and coincides with George Washington’s birthday. For more than a century, the city’s coming-out celebrations have involved intricate paeans to America’s colonial past. In 1939, the Society of Martha Washington was founded to usher each year’s debutantes (called “Marthas”) into proper society. The centerpiece of the festivities is the Martha Washington Pageant and Ball, when the girls are presented. The festival resonates anew in a time of economic uncertainty and political tension over immigration. Still, the Washington celebration has managed to persevere and even flourish, thanks in large part to the Mexican-American girls who carry this gilded tradition on their young shoulders.
Half the Sky: Oppression into Opportunity
Filmed in 10 countries, the series follows Nicholas Kristof and celebrity activists America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde on a journey to tell the stories of inspiring, courageous individuals. Across the globe oppression is being confronted, and real meaningful solutions are being fashioned through health care, education, and economic empowerment for women and girls. The linked problems of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality – which needlessly claim one woman every 90 seconds – present to us the single most vital opportunity of our time: the opportunity to make a change. Half the Sky was filmed in Cambodia, Kenya, India, Sierra Leone, Somililand, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Liberia and the U.S.
Independent Lens: Young Lakota is set in a small town in the heart of South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation, where sisters Sunny and Serena Clifford, and their neighbor, Brandon Ferguson, share a common dream of helping to create a better future for their tribe. When South Dakota passes a law criminalizing abortion with no exceptions for incest or rape, their tribal President, Cecelia Fire Thunder, challenges it with a threat to build a women’s health clinic on the reservation. The women are drawn into a political fire storm.
Women, War & Peace is a five-part series that reveals how the post-Cold War proliferation of small arms has changed the landscape of war, with women becoming primary targets and suffering unprecedented casualties. Yet, women are simultaneously emerging as necessary partners in brokering lasting peace and as leaders in forging new international laws governing conflict. Featuring narrators Matt Damon, Geena Davis and Alfre Woodard.
Independent Lens: The Graduates/Los Graduados explores pressing issues in education today through the eyes of six young Latino and Latina students from across the United States. One hour of the program focuses solely on the unique situations of Latina students. This program offers first-hand perspectives on key challenges facing Latino high school students and their families, educators and community leaders. The Graduates/Los Graduados is not only a story about how Latino students are faring in our nation’s public education system, it is also a story about the graduates who will make up America’s future.
American Masters: Billie Jean King is the first American Masters program that profiles the accomplishments of a sports figure. This program commemorates the 40th anniversary of the famous Bill Jean King/Bobby Riggs “battle of the sexes” tennis match held in Houston on September 20, 1973. King presents her own story, with perspective from other women tennis greats, women’s movement leaders, and her family.
POV: The World Before Her is a tale of two Indias. In one, Ruhi Singh is a small-town girl competing in Bombay to win the Miss India pageant – a ticket to stardom in a country wild about beauty contests. In the other India, Prachi Trivedi is the young, militant leader of a fundamentalist Hindu camp for girls, where she preaches violent resistance to Western culture, Christianity and Islam. Moving between these divergent realities, the film creates a lively, provocative portrait of the world’s largest democracy at a critical transitional moment – and of two women who hope to shape its future. Winner, World Documentary Competition Award, 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.
The Revolutionary Optimists tells the story of Amlan Ganguly, a lawyer-turned-social entrepreneur who has transformed some of the poorest slums of Kolkata, India. Ganguly empowers children to become leaders for improving health and sanitation. Instead of feeling powerless and doomed to perpetuate the cycle of poverty, these children are developing the tools and attitudes needed to create opportunities for themselves and their communities.
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Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman. From the birth of the comic book superheroine in the 1940s to the blockbusters of today, Wonder Women! looks at how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation. This broadcast is made possible by the Dallas Women’s Foundation.
FRONTLINE: Kind Hearted Woman is the story of Robin
Charboneau, a 31-year-old Oglala Sioux woman in North Dakota, who struggles between saving her family and risking it all to help her Indian community and abused women. To download a discussion guide about the documentary, Click Here.
Makers: Women Who Make America tells the story of the women’s movement through the firsthand accounts of the leaders, opponents and trailblazers who created a new America in the last half- century. View the documentary below.