Sunday, April 11, 2021  |  6 pm

Indie Lens Pop-Up: Philly D.A.

We’re excited to partner with ITVS, Indie Lens Pop-Up, and our local PBS station KLRN to host a FREE Online Virtual Screening of Philly D.A. (Episode 1) on April 11, 2021, at 6 pm. Edwin, a short film directed by San Antonio filmmaker Ya’Ke Smith will precede our feature presentation. After the film, we will hold a panel discussion with special guests Statewide Criminal Justice Policy Coordinator Laquita Garcia, Bexar County D.A. Joe Gonzales, Queer Writer, Activist, Interdisciplinary Artist Haylita Hicks, Bexar County Justice Project Advocate, Justin Martinez, and Filmmaker, UT-Austin Film Professor, Ya’Ke Smith.

Philly D.A. (Episode 1)
Approximate Running Time: 58 mins

In 2017, Philadelphia had one of the highest incarceration rates of any major city in the United States. And it’s become the epicenter of a historic experiment that could shape the future of prosecution in America for decades to come. When civil rights attorney Larry Krasner mounted a long shot campaign to become District Attorney—and won—he pledged to end mass incarceration by changing the culture of the criminal justice system from within. With unprecedented access to Krasner’s office, Philly D.A. explores over the course of eight episodes the most pressing social issues of our time—police brutality, the opioid crisis, gun violence, and mass incarceration—through the lens of one man attempting fundamental overhaul from within the system.


Ted Passon (Creator, Director, Producer) is an award-winning director and video artist. He has directed episodic series for Netflix and Disney. He is a 2016 Sundance Lab Fellow, a recipient of the Pew Foundation Individual Artist Fellowship Grant and a 2016 Headlands Artist in Residency. He has exhibited his award-winning short films in festivals and galleries around the U.S. and abroad including exhibitions by the Whitney Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and 96 Gillespie in London.

Yoni Brook (Creator, Director, Producer, Cinematographer) is a twice Independent Spirit-nominated cinematographer and producer at JZB Projects. As a director, his films have screened at the Berlinale, New York and Toronto Film Festivals, True/False, and IDFA. Projects. His previous Sundance credits include Menashe (A24, dir. Joshua Z Weinstein) and Valley of Saints (World Dramatic Audience Award, dir. Musa Syeed). For PBS’s POV series, Brook co-directed Bronx Princess (with Musa Syeed). Brook co-directed The Calling, a four hour series about young religious leaders for Independent Lens. His directorial debut, A Son’s Sacrifice, won Best Documentary Short at the Tribeca Film Festival and IDA’s Best Documentary Short, and broadcast on Independent Lens.

Nicole Salazar (Creator, Producer) is a documentary filmmaker and journalist who has worked on investigative and breaking news stories in the US and internationally for over a decade. She was a producer for the Emmy Award-winning investigative series, Fault Lines, on Al Jazeera. Credits include Guatemala’s Disappeared, Lost in the System, Undocumented in Trump’s America (Headline Award Winner), and worked as a producer and journalist for the award-winning independent daily news program Democracy Now! Salazar was recently awarded The Sundance Institute | Amazon Studios Producers Award for Nonfiction Filmmaking.

Philly D.A. premieres on Independent Lens on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 (check local listings) and will also be available to stream on the PBS Video app and PBS Passport. Episode one will also be available on YouTube. 

Approximate Running Time: 8 mins 50 secs

Edwin Debrow Jr. murdered a cab driver when he was 12. He was sentenced to forty-years in prison. Today he’s walking out.


Ya’Ke Smith, known for his unflinching and veracious style of storytelling, is a rising voice in independent cinema. His films have received world-wide acclaim, screening and winning awards at over 90 film festivals. The Director’s Guild of America, the Student Academy Awards, HBO, Showtime, the City of Buffalo, NY, which proclaimed February 23, 2013 as Ya’Ke Smith Day and the city of Cincinnati, OH which proclaimed October 6, 2019 as Ya’Ke Smith Day, have honored him. His short, Katrina’s Son, screened at over 40-film festivals and won 14 awards. The film was also eligible for the 2012 Academy Award in short filmmaking. His debut feature, WOLF, which NPR called “an impressive piece by a young director,” premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and has gone on to screen and win awards at festivals across North America. The film is now available for download via several video-on-demand outlets. His short film, dawn., made its television premiere on HBO in February of 2015, and screened on the network for two years. The film was also streamed as part of Issa Rae’s Short Film Sunday series on her YouTube channel. His award-winning web-series, The Beginning and Ending of Everything, is currently streaming on the website a Space for Creators.