Suppose you just left a prison after serving, say, 10 years for armed robbery.
Barbed wire, blocks of stone, hulking prison guards and distasteful food that you eat on a timed basis are in your rear-view mirror. You’re feeling a giant sigh of relief, right? Finally a taste of freedom, for sure?
In 2017, as Lynn Novick and I were finishing our film on the Vietnam War, I called Sen. John McCain to see if I could stop by his office and show some clips to him. He agreed, and when I asked if there were any sections of the 18-hour film that he’d particularly like to see, McCain said “the Vietnamese parts” — the stories that included the North Vietnamese soldiers and civilians.
Three and a half decades ago, long before he became the most popular historian in America, the documentary filmmaker Ken Burns left New York for rural New Hampshire to avoid getting a "real job" while he edited what would become The Brooklyn Bridge, his first-ever film. Before it ended up being nominated for an Academy Award, though, Burns had to bring his own projector and set up the folding chairs himself at the Brooklyn Museum to make a screening happen—a scenario that definitely won't be repeating when Burns returns to the borough where "apparently one quarter of the world's population now lives" on December 7, when he'll be screening a newly restored version of the film and having a much more official Q&A session. In the meantime, Burns, whose new Vietnam War series premiered this fall on PBS, filled us in on how he squeezes in time to dictate tweets about the Civil War and tune into Guy Fieri while working on eight films at once in his culture diet.
Society of Voice Arts & Sciences (SOVAS™) hosted the 2017 Voice Arts® Awards at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Fredrick P. Rose Hall this past Sunday, November 5th. Critically acclaimed documentary film maker Ken Burns was in attendance to accept the prestigious Muhammad Ali Voice of Humanity Honor.
In a culture of flash-in-the-pan internet sensations, of insta-memes and GIFs as news, the long-form, episodic films of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick serve as sweeping acts of defiance. While everyone else is rushing to judgment, time is on their side. [ Read More... ]
Ken Burns shot to fame in 1990 with “The Civil War,” which drew record audiences for PBS and jump-started a revival of popular interest in the subject. Nearly three decades and more than 20 documentaries later, he is perhaps the nation’s most trusted historical brand, as much an icon of American-ness as baseball (the subject of his nine-part 1994 documentary) and apple pie (one of the few classic American themes he hasn’t taken on). [ Read More... ]
Like Steven Tyler, of Aerosmith, Ken Burns has a summer house on Lake Sunapee, in New Hampshire. The property is furnished with Shaker quilts and a motorboat; every July 4th, a fifteen-foot-long American flag hangs over the back deck. [ Read More... ]