#386: Ken Burns — A Master Filmmaker on Creative Process, the Long Game, and the Noumenal

“There’s always the certainty that the opposite of what I might believe in might also be true.” — Ken Burns

Ken Burns (@KenBurns) has been making documentary films for more than 40 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 WarBaseballJazzThe Statue of LibertyHuey LongLewis & ClarkFrank Lloyd WrightMark TwainUnforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack JohnsonThe WarThe National Parks: America’s Best IdeaThe RooseveltsJackie RobinsonDefying the Nazis: The Sharps’ WarThe Vietnam War, and 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.

His newest work is Country Music. It explores the history of a uniquely American art form: country music. From its deep and tangled roots in ballads, blues, and hymns performed in small settings, to its worldwide popularity, learn how country music evolved over the course of the twentieth century, as it eventually emerged to become America’s music. Country Music features never-before-seen footage and photographs, plus interviews with more than 80 country music artists. The eight-part, 16-hour series is directed and produced by Ken Burns, written and produced by Dayton Duncan, and produced by Julie Dunfey.

It debuts on PBS on Sunday, September 15th, 2019, at 8 EST/7 CST.

The first four episodes will stream on station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and PBS apps, timed to coincide with the Sunday, September 15th premiere. The second four episodes will be timed alongside the broadcast of Episode 5 on Sunday, September 22nd; each episode will stream for a period of three weeks. PBS Passport members will be able to stream the entire series for a period of six months beginning Sunday, September 15th.

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