Indie Lens Pop-Up (formerly Community Cinema) Launches its 2015-2016 Season in Odessa & Midland
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Permian Basin, Texas – Independent Lens announced today the launch of Indie Lens Pop-Up, a neighborhood screening series that brings people together for community-driven conversations around films from the award-winning PBS series. Formerly known as Community Cinema, the long-running screening series has been renamed Indie Lens Pop-Up to strengthen the bond between the Independent Lens television series and local communities, and bring new energy and new audiences to the in-person events as well as online OVEE events and the broadcasts on Basin PBS. Over the past decade, screenings of Independent Lens films have brought more than 331,000 participants together at over 5,700 events to discuss issues that impact local communities.
The Indie Lens Pop-Up lineup includes a diverse selection of new documentaries that explore issues from race to gun violence, from veterans’ issues to autism.
Basin PBS kicks off the new season with the Independent Lens film, Stray Dog. A burly and bearded biker, Ron “Stray Dog” Hall lives in southern Missouri where he owns and operates the At Ease RV Park. A Vietnam veteran, Stray Dog is forever wrestling with the brutal legacy of the war on his soul, a constant struggle of conscience, remorse, and forgiveness. The film follows Stray Dog as he caravans on his Harley with his fellow vets to pay tribute to their fallen brothers at the Vietnam Memorial. Back home, he forges a new life of domesticity with his Mexican wife Alicia and her two sons, who are also struggling to find their place in the ever-changing hardscrabble heartland of America. A film by Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone), Stray Dog premieres on Independent Lens Monday, November 9, 2015, 9 PM as part of Veterans Day programming on Basin PBS.
“Too many times we want to reduce people to fit into the categories of either red Americans or blue Americans. Ron Hall challenges those lazy stereotypes,” said Lois Vossen, Executive
Producer of Independent Lens. “With humor and grace, director Debra Granik captures American life on the margins through the life of one extraordinary ordinary man. Stray Dog is a remarkable portrait that captures the fellowship among veterans and the lingering trauma of war.” Every year, Stray Dog joins thousands of bikers on a cross-country ride, hurtling down America’s highways, staving off specters of post-traumatic stress and haunting memories while forging deep bonds along the way. And from the back of his bike, Alicia tries to decipher a totally unfamiliar world. Back at home, Stray Dog navigates the pressures of everyday life, including the economic survival of his extended family and the financial woes of his tenants. The arrival of Alicia’s twin sons from Mexico illustrates the huge divide between the America of an immigrant’s dreams and the grim reality of rural communities that offer little hope of opportunity. As he strives daily to be the man he wants to be for his family and community, Stray Dog continues to tally the cost of war, bearing witness to the soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan — both the dead and the living.
Filmmaker Debra Granik met Stray Dog while making her Academy Award-nominated feature film, Winter’s Bone. “I sat next to him in the Biker Church of Branson and he agreed to play the part of Thump Milton in the film,” Granik says. “Stray Dog brought his life experiences to the role, and he brought some of his friends and neighbors to help populate one of the scenes with locals. When shooting wrapped, we reconnected and I got a glimpse of his broad web of family, friends, and affiliations. His vivid descriptions and his questions piqued our interest, and we decided to come back and record some conversations with him and moments of his daily life.”
“Early on, Stray Dog would refer to his Harley as his shrink,” recalls Granik. “Over his lifetime, Ron has sought ways to channel his post-combat need for high adrenaline levels and his natural restlessness into benign channels that are compatible with civilian survival. He searches for missions, for ways to be helpful, which often involve trying to solve a problem for a family member, a neighbor or a friend, or just understanding when someone can’t pay their rent because of a non-livable wage.”
Visit the Stray Dog companion website (http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/) which features information about the film.
WHAT: FREE preview screening of STRAY DOG, followed by a community discussion about understanding of veterans’ experiences that moves beyond the stereotypes; raising awareness about the struggles of veterans and bridging the military-civilian divide.
PANEL: Following the screening we will have a panel discussion with Cassandra Champion – Texas Civil Rights Project, Regional Director and Veterans Rights Attorney, Bill “Wild Bill” McNeil - Vietnam Veteran, Jason Pike – Former Navy Seal, Alicia Lovelady Miller, LCSW, Midland Vet Center.
We will also be honored by the Patriot Guard Riders with a flag line to honor our Veterans.
WHO: Presenters: ITVS Indie Lens Pop-Up, Midland Centennial Library, Basin PBS
WHEN: Tuesday, October 20 at 6:30pm
WHERE: Midland Centennial Library (Next to Best Buy in Midland)
RSVP: The screening is FREE but an RSVP is requested:
About the Filmmaker
Debra Granik (Director) started working in film and video in the Boston grassroots media movement in the late 1980s. She studied politics at Brandeis University and her first forays into operating a camera and collaborating on political documentation were with Boston-based media groups such as the Women’s Video Collective. While in Boston she had the good fortune to be able to take classes at Massachusetts College of Art, Studio for Interrelated Media, which exposed her to a great variety of film work and traditions. Granik shot and produced educational programs related to workplace health and safety issues and then worked on several long form documentaries by Boston-based filmmakers. From there, she moved to New York to attend New York University’s graduate film program.
At NYU, she made several short films, one of which, Snake Feed, garnered an award at Sundance, which led to involvement in the Sundance Screenwriting and Directing Labs. She expanded the story from Snake Feed into a longer script, which formed the basis for the feature Down to the Bone, created with her producing partner, Anne Rosellini. Down to the Bone was awarded the Best Director prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. Her next film, Winter's Bone, won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for four Oscars including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. Going forward, she hopes to be proceeding on both the narrative fiction and documentary tracks, including forays onto the third rail when the two tracks seem to converge.
Stray Dog is a co-production of Life at Ease, LLC and Still Rolling Productions.
About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS Monday nights at 10:00 PM. The acclaimed series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by Independent Television Service, the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. For more visit pbs.org/independentlens. Join the conversation: facebook.com/independentlens and on Twitter @IndependentLens.
About Basin PBS
Basin PBS is a community owned and operated 501(c)(3) non-profit service to the Permian Basin. Donations to Basin PBS are tax deductible and help promote life-long learning through local public television educational programs like WESTERN PERSPECTIVE and through outreach services to West Texas children and adults. Basin PBS is the only local source for trusted PBS programs such as MASTERPIECE, NOVA, CURIOUS GEORGE, GREAT PERFORMANCES, AUSTIN CITY LIMITS, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, FRONTLINE, CHARLIE ROSE and more. http://www.basinpbs.org
Join our conversation at facebook.com/basinpbs and @BasinPBS
Alyson Trevino, Creative Director, Basin PBS
Lisa Tawil, ITVS
415-356-8383 x 244; firstname.lastname@example.org