Ken Burns

Infobox actor
name = Ken Burns

birthname = Kenneth Lauren Burns
birthdate = birth date and age|1953|07|29
location = Brooklyn, New York, New York, U.S.
height = 000 cm (00 in)
parents =
spouse = Julie Deborah Brown (2003-present)
Amy Stechler Burns (1982-1993)
yearsactive =
homepage =
emmyawards = Outstanding Individual Achievement - Informational Programming
1991 "The Civil War"Outstanding Informational Series
1991 "The Civil War"
1995 "JAZZ"
Outstanding Nonfiction Special
2005 ""

Kenneth Lauren Burns (born July 29 1953) is an American director and producer of documentary films known for his style of making use of archival footage and photographs. Among his most notable productions are "The Civil War" (1990), "Baseball" (1994), "Jazz" (2001) and "The War" (2007).

Burns's documentaries have been nominated for two Academy Awards ("Brooklyn Bridge" in 1982 and "The Statue of Liberty" in 1986) and have won seven Emmy Awards.


Burns was born in Brooklyn, New York City, and went on to graduate from Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1975, and went on to be one of the co-founders of Florentine Films. [cite news | url= | title=Ken Burns biography | author=Hal Erickson | publisher=All Movie Guide | accessdate=2007-06-09] The recipient of more than 20 honorary degrees, Burns is a sought-after public speaker, appearing at colleges, civic organizations and business groups throughout the country. Burns currently resides in Walpole, New Hampshire with his wife, Julie. He endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential race. [ [ The Swamp: Once neutral, filmmaker Ken Burns picks Obama ] ]

Burns' brother, Ric Burns, is also a noted documentary filmmaker.


Ken Burns Effect

In common use with the makers of documentaries on subjects where principally still material is available, Burns often gives life to still photographs by slowly zooming in on subjects of interest and panning from one subject to another. For example, in a photograph of a baseball team, he might slowly pan across the faces of the players and come to rest on the player the narrator is discussing.

This effect, present in many professional and home software applications, was affectionately named "The Ken Burns Effect" in Apple Inc.'s iPhoto and iMovie software applications. It also figures in the 6th generation iPod interface with this effect on the cover art of the main menu.

"The Civil War"

Of Burns's many film series, "The Civil War" is generally considered to be his masterpiece. Narrated by Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough, Burns filled in many other roles, serving as director, producer, co-writer, chief cinematographer, music director and executive producer of "The Civil War". The series has been honored with more than 40 major film and television awards, including two Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, Producer of the Year Award from the Producers Guild of America, People's Choice Award, Peabody Award, duPont-Columbia Award, D.W. Griffith Award, and the US$50,000 Lincoln Prize, among dozens of others. The nine episodes explore the Civil War through personal stories and photos that create a very different kind of experience from watching nearly any other modern movie today. During the creation of the movie Burns filmed thousands of archived photographs. This resulted in the coining of the aforementioned term the “Ken Burns Effect”. "The Civil War" has been viewed by more than 40 million people.

The War

"The War", 15 hours in length and seven years in the making, tells the story of the Second World War from the personal perspective of the men and women from four geographically distributed American towns: Waterbury, CT; Mobile, AL; Sacramento, CA; and Luverne, MN. Airing in the fall of 2007, it was the most watched series in the last ten years on PBS. One hundred and seventeen PBS stations across the nation participated in some form of community outreach (local documentaries, screenings, workshops, etc.) and nearly 30,000 educator guides went to every high school in the country. As was hoped, "The War" started a massive national dialog about this most cataclysmic event in the history of the United States.

Prior to its premiere, the film came under criticism because the version first available for preview made no mention of the contributions of Hispanics in the war, and as many as half a million Hispanics fought in World War II. The film did focus specifically on Japanese Americans, as they were rounded up and sent to internment camps; and it did address the reality that African American soldiers were forced to fight in segregated units. Although no one of Hispanic origin had come forward in any of the four towns when Burns put the word out looking for interviewees, Burns responded to this concern by adding three additional interviews, two with Hispanic veterans and one with a Native American veteran.

Ken Burns in popular culture

*An episode of the 1990s HBO sketch comedy series "Mr. Show" featured a video mockumentary entitled "The Civil War: The Reenactments" in an obvious parody of Burns' "Civil War."
*In an episode of "" where Jimmy and his friends travel to Egypt, his classmates are watching a "97 hour-long documentary about Egypt by Ken Burns."
*In The Simpsons episode "Pray Anything", Homer inadvertently watches a documentary by, about, and named for Ken Burns due to his inability to find his television remote.
* Mystery Science Theater 3000 Episode 0805 "The Thing That Couldn't Die" segment four: Crow T. Robot produces a Civil War documentary, at once elaborate and hastily thrown together. Reminded that Ken Burns has already made a Civil War documentary, he states: "Oh, but was it about the Civil War?" [Chaplin, Paul . [ "Episode 805- The Thing that Couldn't Die"] ]
* The band Stars Like Fleas have released an album called "The Ken Burns Effect" in 2008.


*"Brooklyn Bridge" (1981)
*"" (1984)
*"The Statue of Liberty" (1985)
*"Huey Long" (1985)
*"The Congress" (1988)
*"Thomas Hart Benton" (1988)
*"The Civil War" (1990)
*"" (1991)
*"Baseball" (1994)
*"Thomas Jefferson" (1997)
*"" (1997)
*"Frank Lloyd Wright" (1998)
*"" (1999)
*"Jazz" (2001)
*"Mark Twain" (2001)
*"" (2003)
*"" (2005)
*"The War" (2007)
*"The National Parks" (2009)
*"" (to be determined)

Under Burns' name
*"The West" (1996) (Executive Producer, Directed by Steven Ives)

Short Films
*"" (1992)
*"Vezelay" (1996)
*"In the Marketplace" (2000)

Film Roles
*"Gettysburg" (1993)- Hancock's staff officer


External links

* [ Florentine Films] - Ken Burns' production company
*amg name|2:83608
*imdb name|0122741
* [ Ken Burns] at PBS
* [ Downloadable 15-minute interview with Ken Burns from Wisconsin Public Television] Ken Burns talks about his passion for filmmaking, his upcoming project "The War," and the controversies surrounding it.
* [ Ken Burns bibliography]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ken Burns — im September 2007 Ken Burns (* 29. Juli 1953 in Brooklyn, New York City, NY, USA) als Kenneth Lauren Burns) ist einer der einflussreichsten US amerikanischen Dokumentarfilmer der Gegenwart. Zwei seiner Dokumentationen wurden für einen Academy… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ken Burns — Kenneth Lauren Burns (nacido el 29 de julio de 1953 [1]) es un cineasta norteamericano de documentales. Burns es conocido por su estilo en documentales, haciendo uso de originales impresiones y fotografías y ha producido varios aclamados… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ken Burns — Ken Burns, septembre 2007 Ken Burns est un producteur, réalisateur, directeur de la photographie, scénariste et acteur américain né le 29 juillet 1953 à Brooklyn, New York (États Unis), connu pour ses documentaires sur l histoire des États Unis.… …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Ken Burns (referee) — Kenneth Burns (born c. 1931) is an English former football referee who officiated in the English Football League, and on the FIFA list. During his refereeing career he was based in Stourbridge, in the borough of Dudley, West Midlands, and was by… …   Wikipedia

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  • Effet Ken Burns — Démonstration de l effet Ken Burns en vidéo. L’effet Ken Burns est le nom d un type d effet de zoom (ou un mouvement panoramique) utilisé dans une vidéo à partir d images fixes, qu il sert à rendre plus vivantes et visuelles. Le nom est dérivé du …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Burns (surname) — Burns is a surname of several different origins: English, Scottish and Irish. The name can also be an Americanization of a Jewish surname.Origin of the name#Scottish and northern English origin. The name is a topographical name for someone who… …   Wikipedia

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