Community Engagement & Educational Outreach

Community Engagement and Educational Outreach is a key component that sets NET apart from its commercial television and radio counterparts. Community Engagement and Educational Outreach extends the impact of NET’s television and radio broadcasts by providing access to educational materials and collaborative activities. Efforts are always in partnership with other community organizations and are designed to connect viewers and listeners to statewide service resources, foster community participation, and raise awareness about issues affecting Nebraskans.

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Indie Lens Pop-Up (formerly Coffee & Conversation)


2016-2017 Season

“Best of Enemies” will kickoff the 2016-17 Indie Lens Pop-Up film season at the Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln in partnership with College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Presented by NET, the free film screenings of Independent Lens documentaries combined with speakers and open discussion confront real-life issues while bringing people together for community-driven conversation around films from the award-winning PBS series.

“Best of Enemies” will start at 7 p.m. CT, Wednesday, October 26.

Directed by Robert Gordon and Academy Award-winning Sundance Film Festival alum Morgan Neville (“Twenty Feet from Stardom”), “Best of Enemies” spotlights the birth of the highbrow blood sport practiced by today’s ever-present pundit television.

Facilitated by Barney McCoy, a panel discussion will follow the film led by Ron Hull, NET special adviser and emeritus professor of broadcasting, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Kevin Smith, chair of political science and professor, UNL; Elizabeth Theiss-Morse, Willa Cather professor of political science and associate dean for faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, UNL; and others.

In partnership with NET, screenings will also be available at the Midwest Theater in Scottsbluff and the West Point Community Theatre in West Point. Visit their websites at and for more information.



Future screenings and discussions will start at 1:30 p.m. CT at the Sheldon Museum of Art.
The 2016-17 lineup includes:

December 18 – “Meet the Patels” -- Ravi Patel is almost 30, an actor, and, worst of all to his traditional Hindu parents, still unmarried. After he breaks up with his white girlfriend, Ravi submits to his parents' wishes and allows them to play matchmaker. The true-life romantic comedyMeet the Patels” explores the influences of culture and identity on the most intense, personal, and important part of one's life -- love.

February 19 – “The Bad Kids” -- Located in an impoverished Mojave Desert community, Black Rock Continuation High School is an alternative for at-risk students with little hope of graduating from a traditional high school. It's their last chance. This coming-of-age story shows extraordinary educators and talented students combating the crippling effects of poverty.

March 19 -- “Newtown” – This documentary uses deeply personal testimonies to tell the story of the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, the deadliest mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history. Through poignant interviews with parents, siblings, teachers, doctors, and first responders, “Newtown” documents a traumatized community still reeling from the senseless killing, fractured by grief but driven toward a sense of purpose.

April TBA – “National Bird” -- Follow whistleblowers who, despite possible consequences, are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war. The film gives rare insight through the eyes of both survivors and veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder while plagued by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries.

May 21 – “Real Boy” -- This coming-of-age story features Bennett, a transgender teenager with dreams of musical stardom. During the first two years of his gender transition, Bennett works to repair a strained relationship with his family, and he is taken under the wing of his friend and musical hero, celebrated transgender folk singer Joe Stevens.


Independent Lens launched Indie Lens Pop-Up, a neighborhood screening series that brings people together for community-driven conversations around award-winning films. Formerly known as NET Coffee & Conversation, the long-running series has been renamed Indie Lens Pop-Up to strengthen the bond between the Independent Lens television series and local communities, and bring new energy and new audiences to the in-person events as well as online OVEE events and NET broadcasts. Nationally, over the past decade, screenings of Independent Lens films have brought more than 331,000 participants together at over 5,700 events to discuss issues that impact local communities.

Indie Lens Pop-Up included a diverse selection of new documentaries that explored issues from race to gun violence, from veterans’ issues to autism. A powerful line-up of local speakers facilitated the discussion. Indie Lens Pop-Up creates a warm, welcoming, and enjoyable space for people of all ages and backgrounds to come together in a time where these opportunities seem to be dwindling. We learn and grow together as a community through the conversations that follow each film.


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