Encompassing the full spectrum of film — from history to drama to animation to shorts to social-issue films — this anthology series allows audiences greater access to powerful and innovative programs united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Maggie Gyllenhaal hosts the new season.
Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness*
February 2 at 11:30 p.m. on WPBT2
Using photomontage re-creations, interviews, animation, original field footage and recordings, this film examines the forgotten legacy of Melville Herskovits. The controversial Jewish anthropologist’s writings in the 40s and 50s challenged widely held assumptions about race and culture by insisting that we look at the world through each other’s lives and histories. By Llewellyn Smith and Christine Herbes-Sommers.
February 9 at 11:00 p.m. on WPBT2
At age nine, Priscilla, a precocious little girl, tells her single-father, Jesse, “I am going to become a rapper and fulfill your dreams of succeeding in the music business.” Moved by Priscilla’s, or P-Star’s, passion and impressed with her talent and charisma, he begins to teach her all he knows about rapping. Suddenly, this father-daughter duo goes from a one-bedroom shelter in Harlem to a four-bedroom apartment, from food stamps to shopping sprees, from rapping on street corners to sold-out night clubs. By Gabriel Noble.
February 16 at 11:00 p.m. on WPBT2
This is the poignant and powerful story of animals left behind during Katrina and of the struggles of hurricane victims to reunite with their beloved pets. A meditation on the essential bond between humans and animals, “Mine” is an equally compelling story of race and class — and the power of compassion — in contemporary America. By Geralyn Pezanoski. Documentary short “Home” mixes imagery from the filmmaker's childhood home before and after Katrina.
Behind the Rainbow*
February 23 at 11:00 p.m. on WPBT2
Over two tumultuous decades, South Africa has finally arrived on its own bumpy road to democracy. With the 2009 presidential election looming as a historical turning point, “Behind the Rainbow” is a previously untold account of the country’s political problems, struggles and realities. By Jihan El-Tahri and Steven Markowitz.
* Discover other programs honoring and celebrating African-American History Month on WPBT2 this month.
Visit the website at www.pbs.org/independentlens.