About Kristen Hagan

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So far Kristen Hagan has created 32 blog entries.

The Washington Post: How maximum security inmates took on Cambridge in a debate about nuclear weapons — and won

“The three students from the University of Cambridge, wearing black suits and clutching sheaves of papers, stepped onto the wooden auditorium stage under the warm yellow lights. As members of a storied debate team, they had competed the world over but never in a place like this — a stripped-down hall in a maximum-security prison in Upstate New York that looms among the Catskill Mountains like a medieval castle.” [READ MORE]

Rolling Stone: Vince Gill Stuns at Ken Burns’ All-Star ‘Country Music’ Concert

Vince Gill was having some trouble with the teleprompter during the taping of Ken Burns’ all-star “Country Music: Live at the Ryman” concert in Nashville on Wednesday night.

“That’s why I didn’t go to college — I suck at reading,” he joked with characteristic self-deprecating humor after flubbing one of his lines. The show was taped for broadcast on PBS stations at a later date.

Fortunately, the Oklahoma native was in peak form doing everything else during an evening that celebrated a type of music that routinely reconnects with its roots and, as Burns put it, “has never been one style.” Throughout an evening that interspersed brief clips of Burns’ upcoming eight-part historical documentary Country Music — premiering September 15th on PBS — with live performances of songs discussed in the documentary, Gill frequently sat in the background with his Telecaster, guiding a band of session pros through tunes that touched on many different styles and eras of country sounds. [READ MORE]

Out & About in Nashville: Ken Burns’ “Country Music: Live at the Ryman”

When filmmaker Ken Burns announced that the subject of his next PBS mega-documentary would be country music, I’ll admit that I was very excited.  If you’re a Burns junkie like I am, you are likely willing to watch whatever it is that he and his team assemble for our viewing pleasure.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve watched – in parts or its entirety – 1990’s hallmark The Civil War.  While not his first work, it’s certainly the one that made Ken Burns into a household name.  I’ve lovingly watched over the years as Burns has woven the tales of The RooseveltsBaseballJazzThe National Parks, and the one with the closest impact on my life, The Vietnam War. [READ MORE]

The Better Angels Society is Pleased to Announce the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film

THE BETTER ANGELS SOCIETY, THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS AND THE CRIMSON LION/LAVINE FAMILY FOUNDATION ANNOUNCE
THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS LAVINE/KEN BURNS PRIZE FOR FILM

Annual Award to Recognize Exemplary Accomplishment in Historical Documentaries
Next Generation Angels Prize for Young Filmmakers to be Presented in Partnership with National History Day

Washington, DC – March 5, 2019 – The Better Angels Society, the Library of Congress, and the Crimson Lion/Lavine Family Foundation today announced the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, an annual award to recognize exemplary accomplishment in historical documentaries.

The award, which will be presented each fall at a gala at the Library of Congress, will recognize a filmmaker whose documentary uses original research and compelling narrative to tell stories that touch on some aspect of American history.  More information about the award and requirements for submission can be found at: www.thebetterangelssociety.org.  The winner will receive a $200,000 finishing grant to help with the final production of the film. The submission deadline for the inaugural prize is June 1.

“I’ve been very fortunate to spend my career focused on our country’s history,” said Ken Burns.  “While each film is different, they all ask the same question about who we are as a people.  History is of course fraught with complexity and is often divisive. But somehow by confronting this history together, and the many stories that make it up, we become closer.  I’m honored and humbled to join the Library of Congress, The Better Angels and Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine and the Crimson Lion/Lavine Family Foundation to help other filmmakers working in this space share their stories.  By supporting their work, and diverse stories and voices, I’m hopeful we can engage new generations of Americans in understanding our past.”

“Documentary film is one of the most engaging media for bringing our nation’s history to life,” said Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress. “As Ken has demonstrated prolifically and beautifully through his work over the years, piecing together historic photographs, manuscripts, music, oral histories and other primary source materials into a narrative moving image can capture our hearts and minds like nothing else. The Library is a treasure trove of these materials, and I hope this new prize elevates awareness of the Library as an inspirational national resource among documentary filmmakers of the present and the future. We are honored to join The Better Angels, Ken and the Crimson Lion/Lavine Family Foundation to launch this award.”

“We believe an understanding of history is critical to a healthy and functioning democracy,” noted Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine.  “We are exceptionally proud of the support we have provided Ken and his team.  We are equally excited about building on this work and creating a new program in partnership with our colleagues at The Better Angels Society and the Library of Congress. This prize will recognize other filmmakers working in this space and the stories that they can share with the millions of Americans who have learned about America’s past from the extraordinary work of Ken Burns.”  Jeannie Lavine works on several national boards, including The Better Angels Society’s Board of Directors. Jonathan Lavine is the Co-Managing Partner of Bain Capital and a Co-Chair of the Trustees of Columbia University.

Interested filmmakers are invited to apply for the award through the website at www.thebetterangelssociety.org.

To be eligible for the award, films must meet the following criteria:

  1. The project must be a late stage documentary film with a running time of 60 minutes or more.
  2. The subject matter of the film must be American history.
  3. The applicant must have previously produced or directed at least one long-form documentary for broadcast or online distribution.
  4. The applicant must submit 20 minutes of a rough or fine cut AND a script of a full-length rough or fine cut at time of submission of application. (Note: Upon request, applicant will need to be able to provide a full-length rough or fine cut for review.)
  5. Industrial, promotional, branded content or instructional films are not eligible.

In addition to the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, The Better Angels will partner with National History Day, to award the Next Generation Angels Awards recognizing six individual documentary filmmakers in the junior and senior divisions.  These include an award named in memory of Anne Harrington, a colleague who handled outreach and education for Burns’s films who passed away in 2018.  Finalists will be recognized at the National History Day National Contest held each June at the University of Maryland, College Park, and will return for special programming to honor them and showcase their work in the fall. Winners will be invited to attend the Library of Congress award gala in Washington, D.C. as well.  More information about the award is also available at: www.thebetterangelssociety.org

About Ken Burns

Ken Burns has been making documentary films for over forty years.  Since the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Ken has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; The Statue of Liberty; Huey Long; Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery; Frank Lloyd Wright; Mark Twain; Unforgivable Blackness:  The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson; The War; The National Parks:  America’s Best Idea; The Roosevelts:  An Intimate History; Jackie Robinson; Defying the Nazis:  The Sharps’ War; The Vietnam War, and, most recently, The Mayo Clinic:  Faith – Hope – Science.  Ken’s films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including sixteen Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations; and in September of 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Ken was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

About The Better Angels Society

The Better Angels Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating Americans about their history through documentary film. Their mission is to educate, engage and provoke thoughtful discussion among people of every political persuasion and ideology. They work to ensure historically significant films are completed, broadcast, promoted, and shared in ways that reach and inform as many people as possible through robust educational and civic outreach. The Society is currently raising funds for films in production and planned over the next ten years.

The Better Angels Society is also working to ensure that the next generation of documentary filmmakers, inspired by Ken Burns and his team, receive the education, mentoring, training, and support they need to continue his legacy.

About The Crimson Lion/Lavine Family Foundation

Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine established the Crimson Lion/Lavine Family Foundation to focus a significant portion of their philanthropic efforts toward leveling the playing field for individuals and families. The Foundation works to address pressing social challenges in the areas of education, community and public service, health and welfare, discrimination and poverty. The Foundation supports the multi-disciplinary efforts of organizations that serve to strengthen society through research, innovation, public policy, direct service and advocacy.

 About the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.  Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

 

Associated Press: Ken Burns Prize for Film to honor documentaries

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Library of Congress will begin presenting an award named for Ken Burns, who elevated the craft of historical documentaries.

Officials announced on Tuesday the creation of the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film. The annual award will recognize a filmmaker whose documentary uses original research and compelling narrative to tell stories about American history. The winner will receive a $200,000 grant to help with the final production of the film.

Burns says he’s been fortunate to spend his career “focused on our country’s history.” He’s hopeful a new generation can be engaged to understand America’s past by supporting the work of new filmmakers.

Burns’ works include “The Civil War,” ″Baseball,” ″Jazz” and “The Vietnam War.”

Filmmakers can apply for the award online at The Better Angels Society.

College Behind Bars to Air on PBS in November 2019

COLLEGE BEHIND BARS TO AIR ON PBS IN NOVEMBER 2019

New Four-Part Documentary Series by Lynn Novick Follows Prisoners Through Rigorous College Program;

Explores How Education Transforms Lives and Impacts Criminal Justice

BPI students at Eastern Correctional Facility. Credit: Jared Ames

PASADENA, CA; February 1, 2019 — Alfred I. duPont-Columbia and Peabody-Award winning filmmaker Lynn Novick (THE VIETNAM WAR, PROHIBITION, FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT, THE WAR) has directed and produced a new documentary series, COLLEGE BEHIND BARS, that reveals the transformative power of higher education through the experiences of incarcerated men and women, PBS announced today during the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour. The four-hour series directed and produced by Novick and produced by longtime collaborator Sarah Botstein (THE VIETNAM WAR, PROHIBITION, THE WAR, JAZZ), will air on PBS in November 2019.

COLLEGE BEHIND BARS marks a new path for Novick, who is best known for history films directed with Ken Burns. The four-hour series, distilled from nearly 400 hours of cinéma-vérité footage, explores the lives of a dozen incarcerated men and women as they struggle to earn degrees in the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI), one of the most rigorous and effective prison education programs in the country.PASADENA, CA; February 1, 2019 — Alfred I. duPont-Columbia and Peabody-Award winning filmmaker Lynn Novick (THE VIETNAM WAR, PROHIBITION, FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT, THE WAR) has directed and produced a new documentary series, COLLEGE BEHIND BARS, that reveals the transformative power of higher education through the experiences of incarcerated men and women, PBS announced today during the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour. The four-hour series directed and produced by Novick and produced by longtime collaborator Sarah Botstein (THE VIETNAM WAR, PROHIBITION, THE WAR, JAZZ), will air on PBS in November 2019.

The four-part film, broadcast over two consecutive nights in November, unfolds without narration through an intimate look at the lives, experiences and words of incarcerated men and women and their families. Working with renowned cinematographers Buddy Squires, ASC, and Nadia Hallgren, Novick and producer Botstein received unprecedented access to film for four years inside maximum and medium security prisons in New York State. The film, edited by Tricia Reidy, ACE, takes viewers on a stark and emotionally intense journey into one of the most pressing issues of our time – our failure to provide meaningful rehabilitation for the millions of Americans living behind bars. Executive produced by Ken Burns, COLLEGE BEHIND BARS is Novick’s solo directorial debut.

In this era of mass incarceration, America is the world’s largest jailer, with more than 2 million men and women behind bars; 630,000 are released annually, and nearly 50 percent end up back in prison within five years, trapped in a cycle of imprisonment, release and re-incarceration. As one BPI student says on camera, “Prison is to punish. It’s not about creating productive beings. Individuals are not being prepared for anything other than what they’ve already been doing – crime.”

“This film challenges conventional wisdom about education and incarceration, and raises questions we urgently need to address,” Novick said. “What ultimately is prison for? Who in America has access to educational opportunity? Who among us is capable of academic excellence? How can we break the cycle of recidivism? How can we have justice without redemption?”

COLLEGE BEHIND BARS is not a story of non-violent drug offenders, false conviction or exoneration, unlike many recent documentary films about the criminal justice system. All of the BPI students featured in the film are serving time for serious, often violent offenses. In wrenching, deeply personal interviews, they describe their childhoods and family backgrounds, reveal why they are incarcerated, express profound remorse, as well as hope for redemption and their worries about what life will bring after release from prison.

COLLEGE BEHIND BARS puts a human face on the millions of Americans whose lives are erased from public view when they enter prison,” producer Sarah Botstein said, “and raises questions about whether our criminal justice system is doing enough to prepare incarcerated men and women to re-enter society and become productive citizens, especially in a country that believes in second chances.”

Executive producer Ken Burns added, “Lynn has provided us with a transformative story about the power of education and how it can change lives and also benefit society at large. Programs like the Bard Prison Initiative are sorely lacking in our criminal justice system. COLLEGE BEHIND BARS could not be coming out at a more perfect time.”

COLLEGE BEHIND BARS provides us with an intimate look at how learning can change lives and create hope,” said Perry Simon, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming. “The filmmakers have allowed us to witness these incarcerated men and women in the process of becoming, in their own words, ‘civic beings.’ We’re very excited to share this work with the American public through our local PBS member stations.”

Once commonplace in American prisons, higher education declined precipitously after 1994, when Congress ended federal Pell Grants for inmates as part of the Clinton Crime Bill. For more than two decades, as “tough on crime” policies made America the world’s leading jailer, there was almost no federal or state funding for college in prison, despite its proven efficacy in preventing recidivism. In the nearly 20 years since BPI began, more than 500 alumni have been released, and fewer than four percent have gone back. The program currently enrolls 300 men and women in six prisons, and costs $6,000 per student per year, most of it privately funded.

COLLEGE BEHIND BARS shows BPI students – most of whom did not finish high school – being held to the same high academic and intellectual standards as the undergraduates at Bard, a private liberal arts college in upstate New York. In classrooms, their cells, the library and the yard, they wrestle with difficult texts, analyze complex data and, over time, master a wide range of disciplines. Throughout the series, the filmmakers also follow the ups and downs of BPI’s Debate Union, which lost to a visiting team from West Point in the first year of filming, and six months later, beat a team from Harvard, creating a media sensation that went viral. For many of the students featured in the film, the culmination of their education is the year-long Senior Project. To complete the bachelor’s degree, they conduct original research and produce a final paper of 80 to 100 pages.

COLLEGE BEHIND BARS is directed and produced by Lynn Novick; produced by Sarah Botstein; edited by Tricia Reidy, ACE; produced by Salimah El-Amin and Mariah Doran; original music by Jongnic Bontemps; cinematography by Buddy Squires, ASC and Nadia Hallgren. Ken Burns is executive producer. COLLEGE BEHIND BARS is a production of Skiff Mountain Films, in association with Florentine Films and WETA-TV.

Major Funding for COLLEGE BEHIND BARS was provided by members of The Better Angels Society, including John and Catherine Debs, the Cousins Family Foundation, the Abrams Foundation, Schwartz/Reisman Foundation, Ted Dintersmith and Elizabeth Hazard, and Bonnie and Tom McCloskey; Ford Foundation/JustFilms; National Endowment for the Humanities; Meg & Tomas Bergstrand; The Lise Strickler and Mark Gallogly Charitable Fund; The Silicon Valley Community Foundation and PBS.

About PBS
PBS, with nearly 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 90 million people through television and 30 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on TwitterFacebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

About WETA
WETA Washington, DC, is one of the largest producing stations of new content for public television in the United States. WETA productions and co-productions include PBS NewsHour, Washington Week, The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize, The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, Latino Americans and The Italian Americans; documentaries by filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, including The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, Frank Lloyd Wright, The War, Prohibition, The Vietnam War and productions by Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., including Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Season Three), Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise and Africa’s Great Civilizations. WETA presentations include Martha Stewart’s Cooking School, Pati’s Mexican Table, Sara’s Weeknight Meals, Globe Trekker and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO. The WETA studios and administrative offices are located in Arlington, Virginia. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at www.weta.org. On social media, visit www.facebok.com/wetatvfm on Facebook or follow @WETAtvfm on Twitter.

– PBS –

CONTACTS:

Joe DePlasco, DKC Public Relations, CollegeBehindBarsDKC@dkcnews.com

Michaé Godwin, PBS, mmgodwin@pbs.org

For images and additional up-to-date information on this and other PBS programs, visit PBS PressRoom at pbs.org/pressroom.

Billboard: Ken Burns ‘Country Music’ Documentary Slated for September Premiere on PBS

“Ken Burns has a new music documentary coming to PBS this fall.

Produced by Burns and his longtime collaborators Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey, Country Music will follow the history and evolution of the quintessentially American music genre — from the hills of Appalachia to the honky-tonk of Texas and Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry — over the course of eight two-hour episodes.” READ MORE