August 22, 2012 16:00 ET

ITVS's Community Cinema Series Returns for Seventh Year With a Screening Lineup Featuring Docs From PBS's Independent Lens That Provide a Platform for Audiences to Discuss Controversial Issues in a Local Context and Build Common Ground

Free Screening Series Connects Thousands With Local Services and Civic Engagement Opportunities -- in Over 100 Cities Nationwide and Online -- Through a Brand New Engagement-Driven Website

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Aug 22, 2012) - The Independent Television Service (ITVS), the leader in independent public media, announces the seventh year of its popular Community Cinema program, beginning in September 2012. The largest public interest outreach program in public or commercial television, Community Cinema features a sneak peek of documentaries set to broadcast on the award-winning PBS series Independent Lens.

Community Cinema screens films monthly from September through June, and can be found in over 100 communities at a range of venues -- from libraries to art museums -- in both major cities and small towns. Post-screening activities are offered, including panel discussions with leading community-based organizations, interactive workshops, resource fairs, and other programming designed to help people learn more and get more involved.

This season, Community Cinema takes on controversial issues from current news headlines, such as "As Goes Janesville," Brad Lichtenstein's three-year chronicle about the debate over the future of America's middle class, a debate that has become a pitched battle over unions in the normally tranquil state of Wisconsin; Macky Alston's "Love Free or Die," a portrait of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay elected bishop in the high church traditions of Christendom, whose 2003 elevation in the New Hampshire diocese ignited a worldwide firestorm in the Anglican Communion; and "Soul Food Junkies," Byron Hurt's personal look at the black community's love affair with soul food, its significance, and its health consequences.

ITVS's Community Cinema series continues to align its programming with the Women and Girls Lead initiative -- a multiyear public media initiative to galvanize action on critical issues facing women and girls -- now nearing the end of its second year. Four programs focusing on gender equity and women and girls leadership will be featured this season, including the September season kick-off, "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" by Maro Chermayeff. This landmark documentary miniseries (based on the bestselling book of the same name by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn) follows six actress-advocates -- America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union, and Olivia Wilde -- as they travel to Africa and Asia and meet inspiring, courageous individuals who are confronting oppression and developing real, meaningful solutions. "Solar Mamas," by Jehane Noujaim, introduces the women of India's Barefoot College, which provides rural women living in poverty with an education that empowers them to make their communities self reliant and sustainable; Kristy Guevara-Flanagan's "Wonder Women: The Untold Story of American Superheroines" traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of the original comic book Amazon, Wonder Woman, reflecting society's anxieties about women's liberation; and "Revolutionary Optimists," by Nicole Newnham and Maren Grainger-Monsen, takes a look at a teacher who empowers the children of Kolkata's slums to become leaders in improving their own community's health.

Audience engagement with the content and issues presented in the new season of Community Cinema will also be supported by an innovative new website that directly connects individuals with film-specific resources and ways to get involved at the click of a mouse. The new features embeddable Take Action "widgets," monthly opinion polls, national event listings, and individual city pages that provide in-depth information on local events, partners, and stories of community impact.

For a complete lineup of the ITVS Community Cinema series visit,
For more information about Independent Lens visit,

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