August 22, 2010
Few Americans look at baseball with a sharper eye than Ken Burns , the celebrated filmmaker and lifelong Red Sox fan. He has spent at least five of the last 20 years studying the sport with the same perspective he brought to the groundbreaking Civil War project that launched his career. Burns sees the good and bad in everything and has found a way to maintain his joy about the things he truly loves, most notably his family, his work and his guiltiest passion, baseball. When Roger Clemens was indicted Thursday, Burns was at the Comcast SportsNet studio in Chicago, preparing for an appearance on "Chicago Tribune Live.
June 11, 2010
One of the marks of an artist is his or her ability to take something that we think we know inside and out and then show it to us in such a way that we see it in a totally different light. The great artists also often evoke a deep emotional response in us as part of that process. Ken Burns, public television's documentary filmmaker laureate, does that with Baltimore Orioles legend Cal Ripken in his new production, "The Tenth Inning," set to premiere Sept. 28 and 29 on PBS. Burns and his co-director, Lynn Novick, showed clips from the new film and fielded questions from staffers at The Baltimore Sun last week.
September 27, 2009
Committing yourself for 12 hours to any TV production is a big deal. But before you decide you don't have the time for Ken Burns' new multipart documentary, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," consider just giving it a 30-minute tryout. Watch the first half-hour tonight on PBS, and I bet you will become hooked on one of the best and most rewarding viewing experiences of the TV year. This is a film with both beauty and brains - it is gorgeous to look at, it will make you think and possibly even stir your soul.
September 23, 2007
At first glance, there is nothing particularly striking about the picture -- a static, studio-style portrait in black and white of an unidentified, boyishly young Army lieutenant smiling into the camera. But it appears under the opening title at the start of Ken Burns' latest PBS documentary, The War, and again as the final image of an elegiac montage on which the 14 1/2 -hour documentary ends. The bookend placement in the seven-part film suggests special importance, and that is indeed the case: The young officer is Robert Kyle Burns Jr., the filmmaker's father, shortly after he graduated from Baltimore's City College, and just before he headed off to Europe near the end of World War II. Looking for similarities between father and son, one first notices the elder's eyes and their wide-open sense of youthful promise captured on the eve of heading off to war. At the start of the film, they are just the eyes of the filmmaker's father.
May 6, 2007
SAN ANTONIO -- Hector Galan figures he must have been in the right place at the right time. The award-winning filmmaker, who is based in Austin, Texas, met PBS President Paula Kerger in San Antonio at events scheduled long before Ken Burns' 14-hour documentary The War became the subject of a national controversy. So Galan thinks he might have been in mind when discussions turned to who would help the network out of the crisis that developed when critics charged that Native American and Latino voices were excluded from the documentary about World War II. A half-million Latino soldiers served in the war, many earning decorations of valor.
June 29, 2005
Whether his words were spoken or written, no 20th-century storyteller could bring the American Civil War to life like Shelby Foote, the novelist and reluctant television star who died Monday night in Memphis, Tenn., at age 88. As a writer, Mr. Foote spent 20 years, 1954 to 1974, crafting The Civil War: A Narrative, three volumes and 3,000 pages that the Modern Library, in 1999, ranked No. 15 among the century's best English-language works of nonfiction. Though popular, the books did not make Mr. Foote a household name.