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Ken Burns

One of the Greatest Documentary Filmmakers of All Time; Multiple Emmy Award Winner and Oscar Nominee

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Ken Burns is a celebrated filmmaker whose documentaries have had a profound influence on American culture and society over the past three decades. 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.

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Penn State University: Ken Burns delivers keynote addre ...

Ken Burns On His New Documentary:

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  •  Ken  Burns

Ken Burns is a celebrated filmmaker whose documentaries have had a profound influence on American culture and society over the past three decades. 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.

The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of his films, "More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source." Widely regarded as one of the most influential documentary makers of all time, Ken has won ten Emmy Awards and two Oscar nominations, and in September 2008, was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Burns discusses, in this unusually moving and personal lecture, the great gift of our national parks. Here both “the immensity and the intimacy of time” merge, as we appreciate what the parks have added to our collective and individual spirit. He begins the talk with a 13-minute clip—the intro to The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.


Ken Burns reminds the audience of the timeless lessons of history, and the enduring greatness and importance of the United States in the course of human events. Incorporating The Civil War, Baseball and Jazz, Burns engages and celebrates what we share in common. No clips utilized in this presentation.


Drawing on some of Lincoln’s most stirring words as inspiration, this speech engages the paradox of war by following the powerful themes in two of Ken Burns’ best known works – The Civil War, his epic retelling of the most important event in American history and The War, his intensely moving story of WWII told through the experiences of so-called ordinary people from four geographically distributed American towns. The presentation opens with Norah Jones’ “American Anthem” clip (5 min) from The War.


The Civil War continues to be the most important event in American history. In this eloquent address, Burns paints both an intimate and bird’s eye view of the searing events of the years1861 through 1865 and the war’s profound relevance to us today.


This presentation combines the biographies of some of Burns’ most fascinating subjects, including Thomas Jefferson, Lewis & Clark and Frank Lloyd Wright. He shares how biography works providing insight into the storytelling process.


This is a less formal, conversational type of event. Burns’ addesses questions on all his films, issues in history and contemporary American culture.


Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns explores the themes of race and citizenship in America. The program features clips from several of Burns’ films and a highly-interactive discussion with the audience including a question and answer session.


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  • "A Ken Burns presentation is like giving your audience a once-in-a-lifetime gift…something they'll never forget."