The documentary, Ferguson Rises, shines a spotlight on the town that inspired a new global civil rights movement and chronicles a father’s journey as he grapples with the pain of losing a son. 

Ferguson Rises, winner of the Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award, makes its U.S. broadcast premiere on Independent Lens, November 8, at 9 pm, on Nine PBS. Viewers can join the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #FergusonRisesPBS and a virtual town hall takes place before the premiere (see details below). The film will also be available to stream free after broadcast on the PBS Video App for a limited time.  

The film explores the depths of the protests following Michael Brown Jr.’s killing in August 2014 through the eyes of his father, Michael Brown Sr., and other voices in the community: residents, police officers, business owners, and activists who took to the streets in protest for more than 400 straight days.  

Strikingly different perspectives come to the forefront of the film. In interviews with both opponents of the Black Lives Matter movement and the activists leading it, audiences see a glimpse of the polarizing emotions that are still ingrained in justice reform conversations today. At the center of the documentary is Michael Brown Sr., who talks about his son’s death and the ways he overcame the pain that engulfed him and his family in the years that followed. 

“I hope that through the stories of Michael Brown Sr. and the community of Ferguson, we can learn not to judge things and people on a surface level. And, perhaps most importantly, I hope the film reminds America of all that they can learn from Black people when it comes to resilience, strength, and faith. With this mindset, we can then stop harping on the pathologies of Black Americans and, rather, focus on honoring their contributions,” says filmmaker Mobolaji Olambiwonnu. 

Help provide a local perspective on the national conversation around this film by joining our Twitter chat during the broadcast of the film using #FergusonRisesPBS.
Monday, November 8, 9 pm
Watch on PBS and the PBS Video app starting at 10/9c.

Register for Virtual Town Hall before the Premiere
Join Michael Brown, Sr., film director Mobolaji Olambiwonnu, and a constellation of changemakers to discuss how communities can help mend the wounds of racialized violence. Trained facilitators will share tools for communicating across differences to explore our common humanity. The virtual town hall culminates with a special appearance by Grammy-winning artist Aloe Blacc performing “Other Side,” whose single is featured in Ferguson Rises.
Monday, November 8, 6–7:45 pm

he documentary Ferguson Rises charts Michael Brown, Sr.’s emotional journey to find purpose within pain after a Ferguson, Missouri police officer killed his teenage son Michael, Jr. in 2014. In the film, we witness what happens when a Black father and an entire community grapples with the hard and urgent work of seeking accountability.

Leading into the PBS premiere of Ferguson Rises on Independent Lens, join Michael Brown, Sr., film director Mobolaji Olambiwonnu, and a constellation of change makers to discuss how communities can follow Mr. Brown’s footsteps along a path toward purpose—and help mend the wounds of racialized violence along the way.

Trained facilitators will share tools for communicating across differences as we explore our common humanity and shift entrenched narratives that stoke cycles of trauma. Throughout the town hall, we’ll view scenes selected from Ferguson Rises that spark conversation around topics that include:

  • How can we build trust across differences?
  • How can documentaries shape the conversation on racial violence in America?
  • Getting in touch with unconscious bias as a way to limit harm
Alyssa Grinder photo

The virtual town hall culminates with a special appearance by Grammy-winning artist Aloe Blacc performing “Other Side,” his single featured in Ferguson Rises.

Register here. Instructions on how to join the virtual town hall will be emailed to you two days prior to the event.

ASL interpreters will be present during the panel discussions and film clips will be closed captioned.


  • Sherry Simpson, ITVS, Sr. Director of Engagement & Impact Innovation (moderator)
  • Mobolaji Olambiwonnu (filmmaker, Ferguson Rises)
  • Michael Brown Sr. (Chosen For Change)
  • Reverend Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou (Organizer)
  • Theopia R. Jackson, Ph.D (Past President, The Association of Black Psychologists, Inc. and Chair, Clinical Psychology Degree Program, Saybrook University)
  • Reverend Renita Marie Green (Former Pastor, St. John A.M.E. Church)

Special appearance by:

  • Aloe Blacc
  • Resistance Revival Chorus

The Film

Ferguson Rises explores the depths of the aftermath and protests following Michael Brown Jr.’s killing through a wide range of community members: from Black and white residents to police officers, to business owners, including those who chose to say “enough is enough” by taking to the streets for a record 400 days straight. This varied chorus of perspectives is interwoven with an intimate portrayal of a Black father’s grief and resilience that bears witness to the human capacity to find purpose within pain.

Ferguson Rises premieres on Independent Lens Monday, Nov. 8.

About Nine PBS 

As an essential community institution, Nine PBS exists to enable access to information, knowledge, and learning opportunities for all. We tell stories that move us. We meet people where they are the most comfortable consuming content. Nine PBS’s platforms include four distinct broadcast channels (Nine PBS, Nine PBS KIDS®, Nine PBS World, and Nine PBS Create),, social media, the free PBS Video App, streaming services, live and virtual events, and the Public Media Commons. Since 1954, Nine PBS has accepted the community’s invitation into their homes, schools, and businesses. 

About Independent Lens 

Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS Monday nights. The acclaimed series, with Lois Vossen as executive producer, features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by ITVS, the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS, Acton Family Giving, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more visit Join the conversation: and on Twitter @IndependentLens. 

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