Ken Burns

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About
is an American director and producer of documentary films, known for his style of using archival footage and photographs.

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MrKenBurns1523 karma

Great. I'll see your scrolling and turn this into a ten-part series.

MrKenBurns1232 karma

Yeah. If I wasn't such a luddite I would've done it. Good idea.

MrKenBurns1184 karma

Yep. And we're more than six months into editing. It's a tiger by the tail. We've done nearly 100 interviews: with a dozens of Americans from every military profession, civilians, draft dodgers, gold-star mothers, etc. We've also had unique access to Vietnam and so we've got the perspective of both former North and South Vietnamese soldiers and civilians. And we're learning stuff that is turning the conventional wisdom about the war on its head.

MrKenBurns932 karma

Loved it and the dozens of other parodies over the years. Keeps you humble.

MrKenBurns862 karma

I tackled prohibition, because it seemed to resonate with very contemporary issues: single-issue political campaigns that metastasized with horrible unintended consequences, the demonization of recent immigrant groups, smear campaigns during presidential election cycles, and a whole group of people who feel like they have lost control of their country and want to take it back. Sound familiar? There are some parallels. But remember too that alcohol is a cultural phenomenon, and drugs are mostly subcultural. Legalization will bring its own unintended consequences.

MrKenBurns594 karma

First of all, what I do isn't heart surgery. But I did have this moment in 1999, when I was walking with my daughter across Washington Square Park in New York. A man approached and mournfully said, "My brother's daughter died. My brother's daughter died." I instinctively stepped between him and my daughter. He saw my caution, and said, "SIDS. Crib death." I knew he was okay. I said, "I'm so sorry. I have daughters too." He said, "My brother and I were very close, and I didn't know what to do when my niece died. Then I remembered your Baseball series, and I went and got his old mitt and mine and went to his backdoor and knocked. He came out. We didn't say a word. We just played catch. And I wanted to thank you, ever since."

MrKenBurns487 karma

It doesn't surprise me now that I've worked on films on the Second World War and Vietnam. There's something unique to war and the heightened experience of coming close to death that both repels and attracts us.

MrKenBurns449 karma

Ha! No favorites. But Buck is close to being one. Our religious tradition suggests that man is made in God's image. But very little of our actions suggests this. Buck was the exception.

MrKenBurns445 karma

The genius of America is improvisation. Thank you.

MrKenBurns433 karma

That's great. You made my day! Who's your favorite jazz artist?