Cheap movie dates don't come any more edifying than the ITVS Community Cinema series, which offers free screenings of timely documentaries culled from PBS' outstanding Independent Lens series (shown locally on co-sponsor NPT-Channel 8) plus pre-film receptions and post-film discussions. The 2012-13 season looks typically strong, starting with Saturday's preview of the much-anticipated miniseries Half the Sky, based on the best-selling book by Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
The four-hour documentary enlists Diane Lane, America Ferrera, Gabrielle Union, Olivia Wilde, and Eva Mendes to profile women from Cambodia to Zimbabwe who escaped the ravages of sex trafficking, forced prostitution and gender-based violence. In the segment screening 3 p.m. Saturday at the downtown Nashville Public Library, Kristof and Meg Ryan talk to Somaly Mam, a Cambodian survivor of sex slavery who now leads the fight against trafficking.
After the film, representatives from End Slavery Tennessee will discuss the problem and how to join the crusade. Also featured in the series this fall are Brad Lichtenstein's As Goes Janesville (Oct. 16), which surveys unemployment, union troubles and the collapse of the middle class in Wisconsin, and Jehane Noujaim's Solar Mamas (Nov. 10), a look at how women around the world are attempting to seize the reins of their countries' energy futures.