Telluride Museum: “An Evening with Ken Burns”

Telluride Museum: “An Evening with Ken Burns”

“(Ken) Burns is not only the greatest documentarian of the day, but also the most influential filmmaker period. That includes feature filmmakers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. I say that because Burns not only turned millions of persons onto history with his films, he showed us a new way of looking at our collective past and ourselves,” The Baltimore Sun

Award-winning documentary director and producer Ken Burns is an honorary homie. The iconic filmmaker has a 20+year relationship with the town, which he is known to describe shamelessly as “my lover.”

Since the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Ken Burns went on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, recounting the histories of jazz, the Civil War, baseball, Prohibition, America’s national parks, the decade-long calamity known as “The Dust Bowl.” On the lustrous assembly line is a soon-to-be-released profile of the Roosevelts and projects on the Gettsyburg Address, Jackie Robinson, the Vietnam War and the history of country music to a worldwide audience.

Many of those celebrated documentaries premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, which Ken has described as “the best festival on the planet” and where he now serves on the board. Examples include ”Huey Long,” 1985; “The Civil War,” 1990; “Baseball:The Tenth Inning,” 1994; “Frank Lloyd Wright,” 1998; “Jazz,” 2001; “Horatio’s Drive: America’s First Road Trip,” 2003;”The War,” 2007; “The Central Park Five,” 2013.

Two of those films screened at Telluride’s other major film-centric event: Mountainfilm in Telluride debuted “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” 2009, and “The Dust Bowl,” 2013.

Ken Burns has developed a global reputation for those in-depth meditations on Americana, projects on which he often wears many hats: writer, cinematographer, editor and music director in addition to producing and directing.

Find out why historians say more Americans get their history lessons from Ken’s films than from any other source when you attend “An Evening with Ken Burns,” which includes an encore screening of “The War,” Episode Four: Pride of Our Nation, and an audience Q &A.

The event celebrating the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June of this year is hosted by the Telluride Historical Museum and takes place in the run-up to the 41st annual Telluride Film Festival on Sunday, August 24, 6 – 9 p.m. at the Palm Theater. (The Telluride Film Festival begins August 29.)


“The War,” Episode Four: Pride of Our Nation was directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick and originally released in 2007 to great public and critical acclaim.

Episode Four: Pride of Our Nation chronicles the pivotal phase in the war between June and August 1944 – in both the European and Pacific Theaters. After the screening, in addition to the Q&A, there will be book and DVD signing courtesy of Between the Covers Bookstore.

ken burns the war, the book

All students, as well as active and retired military personnel and their families receive free admission. Tickets – $20 for adults; $15 Museum and Palm Theater members – are available online here.

“We are thrilled to welcome Ken Burns to Telluride for this special screening and audience Q&A,” said Erica Kinias, Executive Director at the Telluride Historical Museum. “Ken Burns is a long-time friend of Telluride and we are excited about this opportunity to offer a public screening of this powerful documentary.”

The program coincides with the Museum’s annual exhibit, Voices of War: Telluride During World War II, which will be on display through March 2015.

More about Ken Burns’s PBS series “The War:” Episode Four: Pride of Our Nation, June 1944-August 1944:

By June 1944, there are signs on both sides of the world that the tide of the war is turning. On June 6, 1944 – D-Day – in the European Theater, a million and a half Allied troops embark on one of the greatest invasions in history: the invasion of France. Among

Luce of Mobile, Alabama who drops behind enemy lines in a glider; Quentin Aanenson of Luverne, Minnesota, who flies his first combat mission over the Normandy coast; and Joseph Vaghi of Waterbury, Connecticut, who manages to survive the disastrous landing on Omaha Beach where German resistance nearly decimates the American forces. It is the bloodiest day in American history since the Civil War, with nearly 2,500 Americans losing their lives. But the Allies succeed in tearing a 45-mile gap in Hitler’s vaunted Atlantic Wall, and by day’s end more than 150,000 men landed on French soil. They quickly found themselves bogged down in the Norman hedgerows, facing German troops determined to make them pay for every inch of territory gained. For months, the Allies measure their progress in yards, and suffer far greater casualties than expected.

In the Pacific, the long climb from island to island toward Japan is well underway, but the enemy seems increasingly determined to defend their territory to the death. The Marines, including Ray Pittman of Mobile, fight the costliest Pacific battle to date – on the island of Saipan. There they first encounter Japanese civilians, who, like their soldiers, seem resolved to die for their emperor rather than surrender.

Back home, while anxiously listening to the radio, watching newsreels and scanning casualty lists in the newspapers. Americans do their best to go about their normal lives, but on doorsteps all across the country, dreaded telegrams from the War Department arrive at a rate inconceivable just one year earlier.

In late July, Allied forces break out of the hedgerows in Normandy, and by mid-August, the Germans are in full retreat out of France. On August 25, after four years of Nazi occupation, Paris is liberated – and the end of the war in Europe seems only a few weeks away.

For further information, contact Erica Kinias at 970-728-3344.

Go here to watch Ken’s interview with Bill Maher about “The War.”


Click the “play” button to listen to my conversation with Ken Burns.

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