The Better Angels Society is Proud to Support the Following Films

These documentary films in production are associated with Ken Burns’s Florentine Films and Lynn Novick’s Skiff Mountain Films. They tell the story of people and animals who have found ways to overcome adversity and have impacted our history. All previously supported films are in the Past Films section of this page. To see a full list of Ken’s work, click here. For additional information on supporting these films, please email Katherine Malone-France, President & CEO, at kmalonefrance@betterangelssociety.org.  

LEONARDO DA VINCI – November 18 & 19, 2024

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION – 2025

HENRY DAVID THOREAU – 2025/2026

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT IN AMERICA – 2026

EMANCIPATION TO EXODUS – 2027

LBJ & THE GREAT SOCIETY – 2028

Better Angels Stories

The Better Angels Stories initiative is a partnership with PBS to support historical documentary films about the most important untold stories of American history. We aim to ensure these vital, complex narratives can be brought to millions of PBS viewers nationwide. These films have future air dates, and The Better Angels Society is currently supporting or actively fundraising for them. To see all the aired films we’ve supported, visit the Past Films section of this page. For additional information on supporting upcoming Better Angels Stories, please email Katherine Malone-France, President & CEO, at kmalonefrance@betterangelssociety.org.

Special thanks to John and Jessica Fullerton for underwriting this initiative. Additional support has been generously provided by:

  • Mercedes T. Bass
  • Gilchrist & Amy Berg
  • Philip I. Kent
  • Fullerton Family Charitable Trust
  • Rocco & Debby Landesman
  • Mauree Jane & Mark Perry
  • Lynda & Stewart Resnick
  • The Robert F. Smith Family
  • Bobby & Polly Stein

THE CANCER DETECTIVES – GBH American Experience, March 26, 2024

MOYNIHAN – WNET American Masters, March 29, 2024

THE INCOMPARABLE MR. BUCKLEY – WNET American Masters, April 5, 2024

POISONED GROUND: THE TRAGEDY AT LOVE CANAL – GBH American Experience, April 2024

THE RIOT REPORT – GBH American Experience, May 2024

HANNAH ARENDT: A DANGEROUS MIND (working title) – WNET American Masters, Spring 2024

THE AMERICAN VICE PRESIDENT – GBH American Experience, October 28, 2024

WILMINGTON 1898 – GBH American Experience, November 12, 2024

BELLA! THIS WOMAN’S PLACE IS IN THE HOUSE – WNET American Masters, Date TBD

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MISS SCOTT – WNET American Masters, Date TBD

ELIE WIESEL: SOUL ON FIRE – WNET American Masters, Date TBD

FREDERICK DOUGLASS: A LIFE – WETA, 2026

MARY OLIVER: SAVED BY THE BEAUTY OF THE WORLD – WNET American Masters, Date TBD

W.E.B. DU BOIS – WNET American Masters, Date TBD

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film

The Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film is an annual national prize designed to provide finishing funds, including outreach and marketing, for feature-length U.S. historical documentaries in the tradition of Ken Burns. The 2022 winners are below. Visit the page directly, or search the Past Films section of this page to see all winners and finalists. The Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film is made possible through a generous donation by Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine

BELLA! THIS WOMAN’S PLACE IS IN THE HOUSE – 2022 Winner

PHILLY ON FIRE – 2022 Winner

CANNABIS BUYERS CLUB – 2022 Finalist

IMAGINING THE INDIAN: THE FIGHT AGAINST NATIVE AMERICAN MASCOTING – 2022 Finalist

RAYMOND LEWIS: L.A. LEGEND – 2022 Finalist

VIRGIL THOMSON: CREATING THE AMERICAN SOUND – 2022 Finalist

Better Angels Lavine Fellowship

The Better Angels Lavine Fellowship Program is a component of the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film. The Fellowship is for promising filmmakers whose films are not selected as finalists for the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film. With a special emphasis on projects telling the stories of America’s diversity, the filmmakers receive mentorship, guidance, and advice on their work from a panel of expert filmmakers. To see the full list of fellows’ projects, visit the Past Films section of this page. The Lavine Fellowship is made possible by The Better Angels Society and Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine through the Crimson Lion/Lavine Family Foundation.

BAD LIKE BROOKLYN DANCEHALL, 2023 Fellow

THE DAY THAT SHOOK GEORGIA, 2023 Fellow

NEW WAVE, 2023 Fellow

PHOTOGRAPHIC JUSTICE: THE CORKY LEE STORY, 2023 Fellow

SECOND GROWTH: A MODERN LACROSSE STORY, 2023 Fellow

PAST FILMS

9to5: THE STORY OF A MOVEMENT

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2019 Finalist

THE ADVENTURES OF SAUL BELLOW

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2019 Finalist. Better Angels Stories, WNET American Masters

AFTER ANTARCTICA

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2020 Finalist

THE AMERICAN BUFFALO

Florentine Films

BECOMING HELEN KELLER

Better Angels Stories, WNET American Masters

BEETHOVEN IN BEIJING

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2020 Finalist

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

Florentine Films

BONNIE BLUE: JAMES COTTON’S LIFE IN THE BLUES

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2021 Finalist

BUFFALO SOLDIERS: FIGHTING ON TWO FRONTS

Better Angels Lavine Fellow, 2022

THE BUSING BATTLEGROUND

Better Angels Stories, GBH American Experience

THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE

Florentine Films

COLLEGE BEHIND BARS

Skiff Mountain Films

COUNTRY MUSIC

Florentine Films

CURED

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2020 Runner-Up. Better Angels Stories, ITVS

DEFYING THE NAZIS: THE SHARPS’ WAR

Florentine Films

Dust Bowl

THE DUST BOWL

Florentine Films

EXPOSING MUYBRIDGE

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2021 Finalist

FANNIE LOU HAMER’S AMERICA

Better Angels Lavine Fellow, 2021

THE FIRST ANGRY MAN

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2019 Finalist

THE FIVE DEMANDS

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2021 Finalist

https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/stream-flannery-oconnor-documentary/16694/

FLANNERY

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2019 Winner

FLOOD IN THE DESERT

Better Angels Stories, GBH American Experience

FLY WITH ME

Better Angels Stories, GBH American Experience

FREE CHOL SOO LEE

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2021 Runner-Up

GARDEN CITY KANSAS

Better Angels Lavine Fellow, 2022

GRADUALLY, THEN SUDDENLY

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2021 Winner. Better Angels Stories

THE HARVEST: INTEGRATING MISSISSIPPI’S SCHOOLS

Better Angels Stories, GBH American Experience

HEMINGWAY

Florentine Films

HOLD YOUR FIRE

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2020 Winner

HOME FROM SCHOOL: THE CHILDREN OF CARLISLE

Better Angels Lavine Fellow, 2021

HOPPER: AN AMERICAN LOVE STORY

Better Angels Stories, WNET American Masters

INVISIBLE WARRIORS: AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN IN WORLD WAR II

Better Angels Lavine Fellow, 2021

JACKIE ROBINSON

Florentine Films

JOE PAPP IN FIVE ACTS

Better Angels Stories, WNET American Masters

KANSAS CITY DREAMIN’

Better Angels Lavine Fellow, 2021

THE LAST PHILADELPHIA

Better Angels Lavine Fellow, 2022

THE LIE DETECTORS

Better Angels Stories, GBH American Experience

MAE WEST: DIRTY BLONDE

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film; 2019 Runner-Up

MARIAN ANDERSON: THE WHOLE WORLD IN HER HANDS

Better Angels Stories, WNET American Masters

MAX ROACH: THE DRUM ALSO WALTZES

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2023 Finalist. Better Angels Stories, WNET American Masters

THE MAYO CLINIC

Florentine Films & Ewers Brothers Productions

MR. SOUL!

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2019 Finalist

NAZI TOWN USA

Better Angels Stories, GBH American Experience

THE PHILADELPHIA ELEVEN

Better Angels Lavine Fellow, 2022

PLAGUE AT THE GOLDEN GATE

Better Angels Stories, GBH American Experience

PROHIBITION

Florentine Films

PUNCH 9 FOR HAROLD WASHINGTON

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2020 Finalist

RUTHLESS: MONOPOLY’S SECRET HISTORY

Better Angels Stories, GBH American Experience

SOUL SISTERS

Better Angels Lavine Fellow, 2021

STORMING CAESARS PALACE

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2020 Finalist. Better Angels Stories, ITVS

THE SUN QUEEN

Better Angels Stories, GBH American Experience

TAKEN HOSTAGE

Better Angels Stories, GBH American Experience

A TASTE OF HEAVEN: THE ECSTATIC SONG & GOSPEL OF MAESTRO RAYMOND ANTHONY MYLES

Better Angels Lavine Fellow, 2022

THE LIE DETECTORS

Better Angels Stories, GBH American Experience

A LONG MARCH

Better Angels Lavine Fellow, 2022

THE PICTURE TAKER

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, 2021 Finalist

THE ROOSEVELTS: AN INTIMATE HISTORY

Florentine Films

THE U.S. AND THE HOLOCAUST

Florentine Films

THE VIETNAM WAR

Florentine Films

THE WAR ON DISCO

Better Angels Stories, GBH American Experience

ZORA NEALE HURSTON: CLAIMING A SPACE

Better Angels Stories, GBH American Experience

“Country music, like opera, is true poetry with a brilliant tempo! No song is more beautiful than ‘Stand by Your Man’ sung by Tammy Wynette.”

Mercedes Bass , Better Angel and Country Music Donor

College Behind Bars is a timely and important film that speaks to one of the most pressing probelms facing our country – mass incarceration. Through nuanced and intimate storytelling we witness the impact that educational opportunities can have on incarcerated students, and we see firsthand the possiblities for learning and growth behind bars.”

Amy and David Abrams , Better Angels and College Behind Bars Donors