Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker, to speak at Open VISIONS forum


Ken Burns, the celebrated documentary filmmaker, will be the next speaker at Fairfield University's Open VISIONS Forum on Monday, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Regina A. Quick Center of the Arts.

The creator of such PBS masterpieces as "The Civil War," and "Baseball," Burns will discuss documentary filmmaking and his images of the American experience. His works are treasure troves of American history, replete with the skillful use of period music and footage, photographs, letters and narration that weave the story of the people, times and events that changed and shaped America.

Like most non-fiction filmmakers, Burns has taken on the roles of producer, director, writer, cinematographer, editor and music director. He achieved fame in 1990 with "The Civil War," an 11-hour documentary that won more than 40 awards including two Emmys, two Grammys, the Producer of the Year Award from the Producer's Guild, and, that year, broke all previous rating records for public TV.

In 1994, he followed that with "Baseball," an 18-hour history covering the sport from the 1840s to the present. It became the most watched series in PBS history, with more than 45 million viewers, and garnered numerous awards including an Emmy, the CINE Golden Eagle Award, the Clarion Award and the Television Critics Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sports and Special Programming.

Burns arrived on the scene in 1981 with the Oscar-nominated "Brooklyn Bridge," a nostalgic chronicle of that fabled edifice's construction. Though Burns has made other nonfiction films for theatrical release, notably an acclaimed portrait of Depression-era Louisiana Governor, "Huey Long" (1985), PBS would prove to be his true home. He cast a probing eye on such American subjects as "The Statue of Liberty" (PBS 1985), "The Congress: The History and Promise of Representative Government" and painter "Thomas Hart Benton," (both PBS 1989).

His more recent releases include "Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony" (1999); Frank Lloyd Wright (1998); "Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery (1997); "Thomas Jefferson" (1997) and, for "The West" (1996), Burns served as the executive producer and creative consultant.

Tickets for Ken Burns' lecture are $15, $10 for seniors and $5 for students with identification. The talk is sponsored in part by the M.L. Larrabee Visiting Artists Fund, presented by the School of Continuing Education, and co-hosted by the American Studies Master's Program at Fairfield University and the Fairfield Historical Society. Open VISIONS is underwritten in part by Fleet Bank and Advest, Inc. For information call the Quick Center Box Office at (203) 254-4010 or toll-free at 1-877-ARTS-396.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 15, 2000

Vol. 32, No. 136