Past Events

Try Harder! | Indie Lens Pop-Up
April 26, 2022

At Lowell High School, San Francisco’s academic pressure cooker, the kids are stressed out. With a majority Asian American student body, high-achieving seniors share their dreams and anxieties about getting into a top university. But is college worth the grind?

This event featured a live panel discussion about navigating the pressures of choosing a post-high school path with:

  • Nuria Lemus, Bilingual College Planning Specialist, EducationQuest Foundation
  • Shauntee Mims, second-year student at UNL, 2020 graduate of Omaha North Magnet High School, and NCPA scholar
  • Moises Padilla, Director, Nebraska College Preparatory Academy (moderator)
  • Nayla Torres Ruiz, first-year student UNL, 2021 graduate of Grand Island Senior High School, and NCPA scholar
  • Dr. Yan Ruth Xia, professor in the Department of Child, Youth, and Family Studies in the UNL College of Education and Human Sciences. Her research interests include immigrant youth behavioral and mental health, parent-adolescent communication, and relationship strengths and stress among Asian immigrant families.

The Nebraska College Preparatory Academy (NCPA) is an innovative college access program that prepares academically-talented, first-generation, income eligible students for college and their future careers. EducationQuest Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve access to higher education in Nebraska, providing free college planning services, need-based scholarship programs, college access grants for high schools, college access resources for middle schools, and outreach services for community agencies.

Try Harder! premiered on Independent Lens on Monday, May 2 on and on the PBS Video App.

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Mental Health Resources

In this WELL BEINGS online event, hear from students who are navigating mental health issues at school, as well as mental health professionals and educators who help at-risk students get the help they need.

Apart | Indie Lens Pop-Up
Feb. 15, 2022

This intimate portrait examines the impact of America’s war on drugs through three mothers attempting to rebuild lives derailed by drugs and prison. As Tomika, Lydia, and Amanda prepare to rejoin their families after years of incarceration, they enter an innovative prison program in Cleveland, Ohio where they lean on each other and mentors who have also been in prison. With the hope of redemption on the horizon, the women work to regain the trust of their children and combat stigmas associated with people who have been incarcerated. The screening was followed by a live conversation featuring:

  • Alana Alexander, Youth & Family Program Associate, RISE Prison Reentry Program
  • Leah Butler, Assistant Professor, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Nebraska Omaha (moderator)
  • Aubrey Mancuso, Executive Director, Voices for Children in Nebraska
  • Chantal Wentz, Volunteer Relations Manager, RISE Prison Reentry Program

Apart premiered in February 2022 on PBS. Learn more.

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Learn about the history of RISE, which started in 2016 affiliated with the Defy Ventures national organization, with these Nebraska Public Media resources:

Other related stories from Nebraska Public Media and Flatwater Free Press:


Special thanks to RISE, our community partner for this event. Learn more about their programming that bridges incarceration to the community at

Philly D.A. | Indie Lens Pop-Up
April 13, 2021

In 2017, Philadelphia had one of the highest incarceration rates of any major city in the United States. And it’s become the epicenter of a historic experiment that could shape the future of prosecution in America for decades to come. When civil rights attorney Larry Krasner mounted a longshot campaign to become District Attorney—and won—he pledged to end mass incarceration by changing the culture of the criminal justice system from within. With unprecedented access to Krasner’s office, Philly D.A. explores over the course of eight episodes the most pressing social issues of our time—police brutality, the opioid crisis, gun violence, and mass incarceration—through the lens of one man attempting fundamental overhaul from within the system.

Watch our post-screening live discussion featuring

Philly D.A. premiered in April 2021. You can watch the series at and on the PBS Video App.

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Nebraska Public Media productions focused on the criminal justice system in Nebraska:

  • Small Town Cops This 2019 documentary considers the changing role of police work in Nebraska’s small towns and rural areas.
  • Nebraska Prison Reform- This 2016 news special examines prison reform in the state. 
  • ...until he is dead...- This 2013 documentary explores the history of the death penalty in Nebraska. 

Additional Nebraska resources:

Coded Bias | Indie Lens Pop-Up
March 25, 2021

When MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini discovers that most facial-recognition software does not accurately identify darker-skinned faces, she delves into an investigation of widespread bias in algorithms. As it turns out, artificial intelligence (AI) is not neutral. From facial scanning used for policing and surveillance to automated HR systems that mirror and magnify workplace prejudices, these technologies are created with fundamentally biased building blocks. Emboldened by these troubling discoveries, Buolamwini joins a group of pioneering women to shed a light on the underlying biases in the technology that shapes our lives and threatens our democracy.

Watch our post-event live discussion featuring

Coded Bias premiered in March 2021 on, and the PBS Video App.

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Inclusive Communities Logo

Special thanks to Inclusive Communities, our community partner for this event. Learn more about their education and advocacy work related to diversity, equity, and inclusion at

MR. SOUL! | Indie Lens Pop-Up
Feb. 9, 2021

Before Oprah, before Arsenio, there was Ellis Haizlip—Mr. SOUL! On the heels of the civil rights movement, the public television variety show SOUL!, offered an unfiltered, uncompromising celebration of Black literature, poetry, music, and politics—voices that had few other options for national television exposure. Guided by the enigmatic producer and host Ellis Haizlip, the series was among the first to provide expanded images of Black Americans on television and recognize the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement. The film celebrates the groundbreaking PBS series against the backdrop of a swiftly changing political and social landscape, while profiling Haizlip, the charismatic man behind one of the most culturally significant and successful TV shows in U.S. history. With participants’ recollections and archival clips, Mr. SOUL! captures a critical moment in culture whose impact continues to resonate.

The event featured a panel discussion with:

  • Melissa Haizlip, producer/director of Mr. SOUL!
  • Jade Rogers, adjunct professor at Metropolitan Community College, Iowa Western Community College, and University of Nebraska at Omaha, and the Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of the House of Afros, Capes, & Curls
  • Denise Chapman, Producing Artistic Director for Theatre at Omaha's Union for Contemporary Art
  • Deborah Bunting, arts consultant and Omaha Community Foundation board member

Mr. SOUL! premiered on Independent Lens in February 2021 on, and the PBS Video App.

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9to5: The Story of a Movement | Indie Lens Pop-Up
Jan. 21, 2021

When Dolly Parton sang “9 to 5,” she was doing more than just shining a light on the professional fate of American women. Parton was singing the autobiographical tale of a movement that started with 9to5, a group of Boston secretaries in the early 1970s. Their goals were simple—better pay, more advancement opportunities and an end to sexual harassment—but their unconventional approach attracted the press and shamed their bosses into change. Featuring interviews with 9to5’s founders, as well as actor and activist Jane Fonda, 9to5: The Story of a Movement is the previously untold story of the fight that inspired a hit and changed the American workplace.

The event featured a panel discussion with:

  • Mary Jung, a 9to5 organizer featured in the film
  • Sue Martin, President/Secretary-Treasurer of the Nebraska State AFL-CIO
  • Caroline Waldron, Associate Professor of History at the University of Dayton
  • John Kretzschmar, Director of the William Brennan Institute for Labor Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha

9to5: The Story of a Movement premiered on the PBS Video App and in February 2021.

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About Indie Lens Pop-Up

Indie Lens Pop-Up is a neighborhood series that brings people together for film screenings and community-driven conversations. Featuring documentaries seen on PBS's Independent Lens, Indie Lens Pop-Up draws local residents, leaders and organizations to discuss what matters most, from newsworthy topics and social issues, to family and community relationships. Make friends, share stories, and join the conversation!