WKAR Community Cinema

Engaging Communities through Film

Community Cinema is a national civic engagement initiative featuring free screenings and curricula for films from the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens. In 100 cities and online, community members come together to learn, discuss, and get involved in key social issues of our time.

Here in mid-Michigan, hundreds have joined the discussion at WKAR screenings with community leaders.

The current season of WKAR Community Cinema is sponsored by MSU Residential College in the Arts and Humanities.


3:18 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

'American Denial' Explored Race in America

Panelists (l-r) Pero Dagbovie and Olivia Letts.
Credit Amanda Pinckney / PBS

Despite the below freezing temperatures, WKAR Community Cinema returned in February with a screening and conversation featuring American Denial, a new documentary that sheds a unique light on the unconscious political and moral world of modern Americans.

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StayTuned Update
3:49 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Independent Lens 'American Denial'

Credit Gordon Parks / PBS

Mon. Feb. 23  at 10pm on WKAR-HD 23.1 | American Denial sheds a unique light on the unconscious political and moral world of modern Americans.

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UPDATE: All Seats Are Filled
9:45 am
Mon February 16, 2015

Feb. 19 | Community Cinema: American Denial

Credit Gordon Parks / PBS

FREE – Thursday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. | Preview the film and join the conversation around this provocative look at race in America. | ALL SEATS ARE FILLED FOR THIS EVENT

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Documentary Inspires
4:58 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

'A Path Appears' Provides Eye-Opening Dialogue

Audience members attend the screening and discussion of the new documentary series, "A Path Appears."
Credit Amanda Pinckney / WKAR-MSU

WKAR Community Cinema returned in January with an informative screening and conversation featuring A Path Appears.

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StayTuned Update
4:53 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Evolution of a Criminal | Independent Lens

INDEPENDENT LENS "Evolution of a Criminal”

17 years after serving his sentence for robbing a Bank of America, see Darius Clark Monroe return home to face those affected by his crime. WATCH IT NOW at video.wkar.org

You Are Invited!
4:21 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Jan. 22 | Community Cinema: A Path Appears

Credit courtesy

FREE – Thursday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. | The new documentary investigates young women forced into a life of prostitution and the innovative programs that have evolved to achieve remarkable results in empowering their lives. Preview the film and join the conversation. | RESERVE SEATS HERE

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3:37 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

'Evolution of a Criminal' Conversation Focuses on the Criminal Justice System

Panelists (l-r) Carl Taylor, Jane Zehnder-Merrell, Kristen Staley and Lois DeMott.
Credit Amanda Pinckney / WKAR-MSU

Did you know that Michigan is one of only nine states that automatically prosecute 17-year-olds as adults? Or that Michigan can prosecute, convict and sentence a youth of any age as an adult?

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You Are Invited
3:48 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Nov. 13 | Community Cinema: Evolution of a Criminal

FREE – Thu. Nov. 13, at 7 pm | See a short preview of the new documentary and join the conversation. | RESERVE SEATS HERE

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Documentary Inspires
1:25 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

'Women in Space' Provokes Enlightening Conversation

Panelists (l-r) Megan Donahue and Melanie Cooper
Credit Amanda Pinckney / WKAR-MSU

WKAR Community Cinema returned this season on Oct. 10 with an enlightening conversation spurred from the new documentary, "Makers: Women in Space." 

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Hot Views
8:43 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Makers: Women in Space

Tue. Oct. 14 -- 9:00pm WKAR-HD | The history of women in the U.S. space program.

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Documentary Inspires
2:54 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

'Trials of Muhammad Ali' Provokes Conversation

Panelists (l-r) Pero Dagbovie, Daniel Manville and Waseem El-Rayes
Credit Aaron Snyder / WKAR-MSU

Community members left WKAR Community Cinema on May 8 with interests heighten from the screening and conversation featuring "The Trials of Muhammad Ali."

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You Are Invited
2:23 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

May 8 | Community Cinema: The Trials of Muhammad Ali

Ali prays at Hussein Mosque in Cairo, June 1964, after announcing he is part of the Nation of Islam

FREE – Thursday, May 8, at 7 p.m. | See a short preview of the Independent Lens documentary and explore the issues with a community panel. | RESERVE SEATS HERE

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You Are Invited
12:00 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Mar. 27 | Community Cinema: Medora

FREE -- Thursday, Mar. 27, at 7 p.m. | See a short preview of the upcoming Independent Lens documentary and learn more from a community panel. | RESERVE SEATS HERE

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Community Cinema Broadcast Feature
6:48 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Las Marthas | Independent Lens

Dating from the aftermath of the U.S.-Mexico War, the annual debutante ball in Laredo, Texas, is unlike any other. WATCH NOW

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You Are Invited
5:42 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Feb. 13 | Community Cinema: Las Marthas

FREE -- Thursday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. | See a short preview of the upcoming Independent Lens documentary and connect with your community on the importance of carrying on cultural traditions. | RESERVE SEATS HERE

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You Are Invited
1:52 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

Jan. 23 | Community Cinema: The State of Arizona

Activists demonstrate outside of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Credit Lauren Asmus

FREE – Thursday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. | See a short preview of the upcoming Independent Lens documentary and discuss the issues with a community panel. | RESERVE SEATS

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4:39 pm
Sun November 3, 2013

The Graduates/Los Graduados | WKAR Community Cinema

WKAR's Susi Elkins with Dr. Ruben O. Martinez, director of Julian Samora Research Institute; Jose Gallo, Lansing Eastern High School senior; and Yvonne Caamal Canul, Lansing School District superintendent.

A new season of WKAR Community Cinema kicked off recently (October 29) with a screening and discussion of "The Graduates/Los Graduados." The new documentary series from Independent Lens explores education today through the eyes of Latino and Latina adolescents from across the United States. It is the story of the graduates who will make up America’s future.

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Community Cinema Broadcast
1:01 am
Wed October 30, 2013

WATCH NOW: The Graduates/Los Graduados - The Boys | WKAR-TV

The Latino dropout crisis is examined through the eyes of six students from across the U.S., concluding with three young men.


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Engaging Community Through Film
3:34 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Community Cinema Guests Engage in 'Love Free or Die' Conversation

WKAR's Beany Tomber with Penny Gardner, Gordon Weller and Judy Karandjeff
Jeanie Croope/WKAR

A nearly full house packed WKAR's auditorium for a Community Cinema preview of Love Free or Die, airing Monday, June 3, at 10 p.m. on WKAR. The event was the last this spring for the popular screening/discussion series at WKAR.

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Engaging Community Through Film
1:19 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

'Wonder Women' Guests Appreciate Community Cinema Events

WKAR's Susi Elkins with panelists Jess Knott and Gary Hoppenstand
Credit w.r. richards/WKAR

Guests at WKAR's April 25 Community Cinema screening of Wonder Women: The Story of America's Superheroines were not only able to see a segment of the film but hear from speakers Gary Hoppenstand and Jess Knott.

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Community Cinema
2:20 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

'Powerbroker' Inspires Audience

An enthusiastic audience attended WKAR's Powerbroker screening and discussion.
Credit Amber Taylor / WKAR-MSU

On February 13, WKAR welcomed guests to a Community Cinema screening and discussion based around the Independent Lens film Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights. The film provides an inside look on the voices behind the scenes of the civil rights movement.

Powerbroker will air on WKAR-TV on Monday, February 18, at 10 p.m. as part of the Independent Lens series.

A Dialog

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Engaging Community Through Film
1:28 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Soul Food Junkies Fascinates Guests

Panelists Lorraine Weatherspoon, Laura DeLind and Andrea King Collier enjoy a short break before the presentation begins.
Amber Taylor

An enthusiastic group of 70 guests gathered at WKAR on January 10 to see a preview from the Independent Lens documentary "Soul Food Junkies" and learn more about the cultural legacy and health-related issues connected to this culinary tradition.

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Community Cinema
10:39 am
Fri October 19, 2012

'As Goes Janesville' -- Stimulating Discussion

Moderator Ray Tadgerson with panelists (l-r) David Hollister, Jack Davis, Mike Green.
Jeanie Croope WKAR-MSU

Approximately 60 community members attended WKAR's Community Cinema screening of "As Goes Janesville" on October 18, and engaged in a discussion with four guests who addressed the similarities and differences of the issues presented in the film and those in Lansing when the General Motors plant threatened to close.

The Independent Lens film followed the events in Janesville, Wisconsin after the city's GM plant closed. Lansing faced this situation as well, but the GM plant in Lansing remained open, if reduced in scope.

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Community Cinema
2:28 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

'Half the Sky' - Community Cinema Kicks off with Full House

Judy Karandjeff moderates the "Half the Sky" panel that includes Betty Okwako, Amy Jamison and Lynn Paine.
Erin Cullen

More than 80 people attended WKAR's first Community Cinema event held on Thursday, September 27, at WKAR. The topic of the first discussion was Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

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