Through the Lens

Chasing Ice

Apr 4, 2013

When photographer James Balog first headed to the Arctic for National Geographic in 2005, he says he was a skeptic about climate change. What he saw there though put his career on a new course. Balog is the founder of the Extreme Ice Survey – a project that captures visually dramatic manifestations of climate change. Friday, Doug talks to Balog and filmmaker Jeff Orlowski about the stunning documentary "Chasing Ice." It follows James Balog as he risks his life to document the impact of warming temperatures on the world's glaciers. (Rebroadcast)

Friday, Doug is live with filmmakers Sarah Burns and David McMahon for a conversation about their new PBS documentary "The Central Park Five." In 1989, a white woman was brutally raped and beaten in New York's Central Park. Five black and Latino teens from Harlem were pilloried by the press and convicted by the criminal justice system. But then in 2002, the real rapist confessed and DNA evidence helped exonerate the five men. Next week, we're screening the film as part of our Through the Lens documentary series.

Friday, we continue our Through the Lens documentary series with Academy Award nominee Lucy Walker's latest film. It's the story of champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce and his near-fatal halfpipe crash in 2009. Pearce's parents and brothers rushed to help with the recovery from his traumatic brain injury, but they were shocked at Kevin's determination to return to the sport. Walker's film follows the family as they struggle with this question: how much risk is too much? "The Crash Reel" premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival and we spoke with Lucy Walker and Kevin Pearce. We're presenting free screenings next week.

Wednesday, we continue our Through the Lens documentary series with Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney. His film MEA MAXIMA CULPA explores the very charged issue of pedophilia in the Catholic Church. It tells the story of four men who set out to expose the priest who abused more than 200 Deaf children in a Milwaukee Catholic school. Gibney says it's not about religion, but about the abuse of power and the cover-up that wound its way to the highest offices of the church. 

Wednesday, we begin the 2013 Through the Lens documentary film series with THE REVISIONARIES. It's the story of one battle in the American culture war fought on the powerful Texas State Board of Education. The film follows the efforts of creationist, Sunday school teacher and board chair Don McLeroy as he tries to change science books to reflect his views on evolution and as he fights to retain his seat. Director Scott Thurman joins us to talk about the politicization of education and the ideological divisions in our country. 

When photographer James Balog first headed to the Arctic for National Geographic in 2005, he says he was a skeptic about climate change. What he saw there though put his career on a new course. Balog is the founder of the Extreme Ice Survey – a project that captures visually dramatic manifestations of climate change. Thursday, Balog and filmmaker Jeff Orlowski join us to talk about the stunning documentary "Chasing Ice," which follows James Balog as he risks his life to document the impact of warming temperatures on the world's glaciers.

Monday, we continue our Through the Lens documentary series with a film about a unique, crafty and effective act of civil disobedience. In 2008, environmental activist Tim DeChristopher made bogus bids for 22,000 acres of federal land up for auction. Some people found his actions inspiring, but after the courts finished with him, he found himself in jail. The film Bidder 70 follows DeChristopher’s growth as an outspoken activist even as the criminal case against him intensified.

Tuesday, we continue our documentary series with hip-hop poet Lemon Andersen and the directors of a film about his life and art. Lemon grew up on the streets of Brooklyn and by 15 had lost both of his parents to drugs and AIDS. He was serving time in prison when he discovered poetry and made the improbable journey from three-time felon to Tony Award-winner. But when the lights went down, he was soon back to the hustle. LEMON chronicles his struggle to leave the past behind and stage a comeback.

In our latest Through the Lens documentary, Doug is joined by trial lawyer-turned-filmmaker Susan Saladoff. Her film “Hot Coffee” uses the infamous 1994 lawsuit against McDonald’s to reveal what Saladoff sees as big business’ influence over our civil justice system. Though the McDonald’s case became a symbol of frivolous lawsuits, much of what the public thinks about the case is inaccurate. We’ll talk to Saladoff about justice for the average person and why she decided to use film to tell the story.

Charles Miller

The late baseball Hall-of-Famer Willie Stargell once described the knuckleball as being like "throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." It's a pitch so slow and so unpredictable that no one wants anything to do with it. Wednesday, we continue our Through the Lens documentary series with the directors of the film Knuckleball! Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern join us to talk about the craft, tradition, and beauty of baseball as expressed through this one pitch.

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