For Immediate Release                                                                                    WXXI logo
Contact: Kristin Tutino, WXXI, (585) 258-0253



Rochester, NY (September 18, 2012) – WXXI continues its free Community Cinema screening series, featuring films from the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, beginning Monday, September 24 at 7 PM with Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. The monthly screenings are held at The Little Theatre (240 East Avenue, Rochester, NY) and are followed by a lively panel discussion to encourage dialogue and action around important and timely social issues. The screenings are free, open to the public, and reservations are not required. To learn more, visit <> or call (585) 258-0200.

The film series kicks off with Half the Sky, an important and compelling survey of female empowerment, directed by Maro Chermayeff, Jamie Gordon and Mikaela Beardsley. Based on the book by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky follows celebrity activists America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union, and Olivia Wilde as they travel to six countries and meet inspiring, courageous individuals who are confronting oppression and developing real, meaningful solutions through health care, education, and economic empowerment for women and girls. A talkback discussion will follow the film. Panelists for the talkback include:  Marilyn Tedeschi, urban educator, entrepreneur and social activist; Barbara LeSavoy, Ph.D., Director of Women and Gender Studies at The College at Brockport; Pam Gram, Alternatives for Battered Women; and Kit Miller, Gandhi Institute for Non Violence.

Below is the complete schedule of films planned for the season:

Monday, October 29 at 7:00 PM: As Goes Janesville
Filmmaker Brad Lichtenstein explores how America’s middle class is dwindling, and the debate over how to save it is nowhere fiercer than in the normally tranquil state of Wisconsin. In Janesville, as jobs disappear and families are stretched to their breaking point, citizens and politicians are embroiled in an ideological battle about how to turn things around.

Monday, November 26 at 7:00 PM: Solar Mamas
Rafea — a 30-year-old Jordanian mother of four — is traveling outside of her village for the first time to attend a solar engineering program at India’s Barefoot College. She and director Jehane Noujaim will join poor women like her from Guatemala, Kenya, Burkina Faso, and Colombia to learn concrete skills to change their communities.

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 7:00 PM: Soul Food Junkies
Soul food lies at the heart of African American cultural identity. Byron Hurt documents the black community’s love affair with soul food, a relationship that is deep-rooted, complex, and in some cases, deadly. Soul Food Junkies puts this culinary tradition under the microscope to examine both its significance and its consequences.

Monday, February 25, 2013 at 7:00 PM: The Powerbroker
Filmmaker Bonnie Boswell documents Whitney M. Young Jr., one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders of the civil rights era. As executive director of the Urban League, he took the struggle for equality directly to the white business elite, gaining allies in business and government, including three presidents.

Monday, March 25, 2013 at 7:00 PM: Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines
This film, by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of the original comic book Amazon, Wonder Woman. From her creation in the 1940s to the superhero blockbusters of today, pop-culture’s representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxiety about women’s liberation.

Monday, April 29, 2013 at 7:00 PM: The Island President
Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed is confronting a problem greater than any world leader has ever faced – the literal survival of his country and everyone in it. His is the most low-lying country in the world, and a future minor rise in sea level will erase it from the map. A film by Jon Shenk, Bonni Cohen and Richard Berge.

Monday, May 27, 2013 at 7:00 PM: The Revolutionary Optimists
Filmmakers Nicole Newnham and Maren Grainger-Monsen visit children in the slums of Calcutta who are starting a revolution. Called to action by visionary former attorney Amlan Ganguly, the ‘Daredevils’ have already made radical health and sanitation improvements in one of the city’s poorest slums – awakening a neglected populace to the real possibility of change.

Community Cinema is a groundbreaking public education and civic engagement initiative that brings together leading organizations, community members and public television stations to learn, discuss and get involved in today’s critical issues. The national project is supported in part by Independent Lens, PBS, CPB, National Endowment for the Arts, Women & Girls Lead, National Center for Media Engagement and ITVS.


WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. The formal affiliation between WXXI and the Little Theatre, established in December 2011, enables the two organizations to work more efficiently by pooling resources and strengths in a number of areas including back-office operation and improved fundraising capabilities.  Log on to for more information about our services and programs.

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