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Ken Burns: America's Storyteller

Join Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, George Lucas, Wynton Marsalis, Yo-Yo Ma, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Sam Waterston, Doris Kearns Goodwin and more for a tribute to the acclaimed filmmaker.


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WMHT | Ken Burns: America's Storyteller
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Ken Burns: America's Storyteller

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Join host Tom Hanks for a celebration of filmmaker Ken Burns, whose nearly four-decade career has resulted in some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made. Featuring interviews with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Doris Kearns Goodwin, George Lucas, Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Meryl Streep, Sam Waterston and others, this heartfelt tribute explores the tremendous depth and breadth of Burns’s work and provides an exclusive look at THE VIETNAM WAR, a new 10-part, 18-hour documentary film series directed by Burns and Lynn Novick that premieres on PBS in September 2017.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Ken Burns’s passion for telling America’s stories is evident in his choice of subjects, from American icons (Mark Twain, Frank Lloyd Wright, Jackie Robinson, The Roosevelts) to American pastimes (baseball, jazz and the National Parks), from American landmarks (the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty) to the country’s most momentous historical events (the Civil War, the Dust Bowl, Prohibition and World War II). Since the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, productions by Burns have won 15 Emmy Awards and two Oscar nominations, and Burns himself has been the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Burns has been aptly described as “America’s storyteller.” Over the course of almost 40 years, he has carried on a deep and probing conversation with Americans about themselves and their country, its past and its future. Perhaps more than anyone else, he has elevated documentary filmmaking to an art form and made American history come alive.

The tribute also includes an extended interview with Burns, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the making of his films and providing fascinating insights into his thought process, philosophy and creative methods. Filled with clips, photographs, outtakes and “making of” footage, KEN BURNS: AMERICA’S STORYTELLER will remind viewers once again of the originality and craft behind the “Ken Burns effect.”

Ken Burns: America's Storyteller Preview

Join Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, George Lucas and more for a tribute to Ken Burns.