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Independent Lens Focuses on Texas


by Stephen Becker 3 Aug 2009

A trio of documentaries featuring Texas subjects has been picked up for the 2009-10 season of Independent Lens. The Eyes of Me, about four students at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired; Sunshine, a think piece about unplanned pregnancy; and The Horse Boy, about a Texas family who tries to help an […]

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Dallas native Denise of The Eyes of Me is the face of this season's Independent Lens poster.

A trio of documentaries featuring Texas subjects has been picked up for the 2009-10 season of Independent Lens. The Eyes of Me, about four students at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired; Sunshine, a think piece about unplanned pregnancy; and The Horse Boy, about a Texas family who tries to help an autistic son, will all make their television debuts on KERA this season.

The year is a little more than half over, and if I had to fill out my Top 10 list for 2009, I am certain that The Eyes of Me would make the cut. Watching the four students (two of whom are from North Texas) learn to navigate a sighted world is inspiring at times, heartbreaking at others and inventive throughout.

The film, made by Plano native Keith Maitland, played at South by Southwest and the AFI Dallas International Film Festival this spring. I spoke with Maitland at SXSW about making it; you can read my story about the film here.

Sunshine also debuted at SXSW. Austin director Karen Skloss turns the camera on herself as she examines what it’s like to have an unplanned pregnancy. The fact that Skloss herself is the product of an unplanned pregnancy makes the film all the more thought-provoking as she details how her pregnancy was much different from her mother’s. You can read my review of Sunshine here.

I have not seen The Horse Boy yet, but it won the audience award at SXSW this spring after debuting at Sundance in January. Also making the schedule is Between the Folds, which played at this summer’s Asian Film Festival of Dallas. The Japanese art of origami is the subject of the film; I previewed it ahead of AFFD here.

Independent Lens also scored a real coup in grabbing Young@Heart. The film centers on a senior citizens choir in New England that puts a choral spin on tunes by everyone from the Clash to Sonic Youth. It made more than $3 million domestically at the box office in 2007 – a tidy sum for a small doc.

The exact dates haven’t been nailed down just yet for these, but as I see them pop up on the KERA schedule beginning Oct. 13, I’ll let you know.

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