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.
Unmistaken Child (April 7 at 10:00 p.m.)
When Lama Konchog, considered the greatest Tibetan mediator of the 20th century, died in 2001, his disciple Tenzin Zopa was unexpectedly appointed to lead the search for the reincarnation of his late master. The ensuing quest transformed Tenzin from a modest servant into a passionate spiritual leader, only to become a disciple again once the child was found.
Blessed is the Match (April 13 at 11:00 p.m.)
Narrated by Joan Allen, this is the first documentary feature about Hannah Senesh, the World War II-era poet and diarist who became a paratrooper, resistance fighter and modern-day Joan of Arc. Safe in Palestine in 1944, Senesh joined a mission to rescue Jews in her native Hungary. It was the only military rescue mission for Jews during the Holocaust. Senesh parachuted behind enemy lines, was captured, tortured and ultimately executed by the Nazis. Her mother, Catherine, witnessed the entire ordeal — first as a prisoner with Hannah and later as her advocate, braving the bombed-out streets of Budapest in a desperate attempt to save her daughter. By Roberta Grossman.
Dirt (April 20 at 11:00 p.m.)
Narrated by award-winning actress, author and social activist Jamie Lee Curtis, “DIRT! The Movie” delves into the fascinating history of this lowly substance, explaining how four billion years of evolution have created the dirt that recycles our water, gives us food, provides us shelter and can be used as a source of medicine, beauty and culture. But people have become greedy and careless, endangering this vital living resource with destructive methods of agriculture, mining practices and urban development. This abusive behavior has yielded catastrophic results: mass starvation, drought, floods and global warming. But as the film shows, times are changing — brown is the new green. Filmmakers Bill Benensen and Gene Rosow traveled to more than 20 locations around the world, visiting renowned global visionaries who are discovering new ways of thinking as they come together to repair this natural resource with practical, viable solutions.
Garbage Dreams April 27 at 11:00 p.m.
Filmed over four years, “Garbage Dreams” follows three teenage boys born into the trash trade and growing up in the world’s largest garbage village, a ghetto located on the outskirts of Cairo. It is a world folded onto itself, an impenetrable labyrinth of narrow roadways camouflaged by trash; it is the home to 60,000 “zaballeen,” Arabic for “garbage people.” When their community is suddenly faced with the globalization of its trade, each of the teenage boys is forced to make choices that will affect his future and the survival of his community. By Mai Iskander.
Visit the website at www.pbs.org/independentlens.