Ken Burns is a celebrated American documentarian who gradually amassed a considerable reputation and a devoted audience with a series of reassuringly traditional meditations on Americana. Burns’s works are treasure troves of archival materials; he skillfully utilizes period music and footage, photographs, periodicals and ordinary people’s correspondence, the latter often movingly read by seasoned professional actors in a deliberate attempt to get away from a “Great Man” approach to history. Like most non-fiction filmmakers, Burns wears many hats on his projects, often serving as writer, cinematographer, editor and music director in addition to producing and directing. He achieved his apotheosis with “The Civil War” (1990), a phenomenally popular 11-hour documentary that won two Emmys and broke all previous ratings records for public TV.
Presenter for the Following Session
- National Youth Summit on the Dust Bowl
In the 1930s drought and intensive farming in the Great Plains brought about dust storms, crop failure, and human misery in one of the worst ecological disasters in America’s history. The 2012 National Youth Summit will unpack this story and connect it with current issues of drought, agricultural sustainability, and national and global food security. The Summit will include segments from award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns’s forthcoming film The Dust Bowl, and a discussion moderated by Huffington Post science correspondent Cara Santa Maria featuring: Ken Burns; Dust Bowl survivor Cal Crabill; USDA ecologist Debra Peters; 5th generation farmer Roy Bardole from Rippey, Iowa; and Glenn Roberts, farmer and founder of Anson Mills.