In a small, New England town lies a small production studio on a foliage covered main street. Down the road, a quintessential barn buzzes with the unexpected chatter. Housed in these unlikely structures are passionate researchers, gifted editors, amazing interviews, fifteen Emmy awards, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Walpole, New Hampshire is where Ken Burns gives life to America’s greatest stories.
On Friday, October 27th, 50 CBA students and four of their teachers had the opportunity to see acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns speak at Brookdale Community College.
Burns is 15-time Emmy Award winner and was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2008. His films have also won multiple Grammy Awards, a People’s Choice Award and a Peabody Award, among other honors.
The event, which is part of a lecture series by Burns, began with a montage of favorite clips from each of his films selected personally by Burns. Students were then treated to a question and answer style speaking engagement hosted by Brookdale professor Jess Levine.
Burns spoke passionately about his life in film, his creative process and American history. Students were particularly interested to hear Burns explain the research, process and music behind his most recent film, The Vietnam War.
Senior Dan Treval was particularly interested in Burns’ ability to apply historical research to today’s political landscape.
“I was impressed by how Mr. Burns, although he says history doesn’t repeat itself, could make connections to modern day events and make them compelling,” Treval noted.
The day provided students with a rare opportunity to hear from a gifted filmmaker and historian in a small and intimate setting. Students and faculty alike left the event feeling inspired by his personal story, passion for his craft, and dedication to crafting American memory.