One of America’s preeminent documentary filmmakers, Ric Burns is a profoundly powerful storyteller whose thought-provoking and deeply poetic films have garnered a devoted following. Best known for his Emmy Award-winning New York: A Documentary Film, Burns has told the story of America through his films, from the Mayflower and the Civil War to 9/11.
Beginning with his collaboration with brother Ken on PBS’s The Civil War, Ric Burns has been writing, directing, and producing historical documentaries for over 25 years. Variety called his PBS series New York, “Nothing short of gripping...a monumental documentary series.” TV Guide described the eighth episode — a three hour portrait of the rise and fall of the World Trade Center — as "a majestically composed eulogy.” Chronicling the city's growth and transformation during the 21st century, Episode 9: The Urban Age will premiere in 2016
The winner of six Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards, he has directed some of the most distinguished programs for the award-winning public television series, American Experience and American Masters, including Coney Island, The Donner Party, The Way West, Ansel Adams, Eugene O’Neill, and Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film.
Coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, he completed Death and the Civil War in 2012. The film examines the transformational impact of the Civil War’s staggering death toll and the enduring legacy of that trauma on the nation, the government, and the psyche of the American people.
His documentary films We Shall Remain: Tecumseh's Vision and Into the Deep: America, Whaling & The World, an exploration of one of America’s first global industries, aired on PBS in 2009 and 2010. His 2014 work, Enquiring Minds: The Untold Story Of The Man Behind The National Enquirer, examined the history of The National Enquirer and its publisher, Generoso Pope, Jr.
In 2015, he directed American Ballet Theatre: A History and Debt of Honor: Disabled Veterans in American History for PBS. His latest film, The Pilgrims, premiered in November 2015. Through a mix of re-enactment and expert interviews, Burns uncovers the riveting, true story of the men and women of the Mayflower and the harrowing events that unfolded in their first decade in Massachusetts. Burns is at work on several new projects, including films on the Chinese Exclusion Act, the VA, and Oliver Sacks. His 2017 documentary, Driving While Black, explores the role of automobiles in the lives of African Americans in the early 20th century.
- Morning Joe: Ric Burns on "Debt of Honor" and how society views veterans
- Ric Burns on the formation of military cemeteries during the Civil War
- Rachel Maddow Show talking about NY, the storm, the blizzard of 1888
- Ric Burns' 'Into The Deep'
- Burns at the Smithsonian on History on Film (2015)
- Trailer: The Pilgrims (2015)
- Ric Burns speaks about 'Eugene O'Neil'
We all love films, but what exactly happens between the camera and the screen. How do tricks of light create universes populated by complicated people, glorious images, and immersive sound? Using clips and stories from his own award-winning documentaries, director Ric Burns takes audiences on a journey into the creative process of filmmaking, from script to screen.
“Seeing the Invisible World: The Art of Filmmaking” is a combination of sight and sound. Your audience can be treated to clips from The Civil War, New York, The Way West, Coney Island, The Donner Party, Andy Warhol, Eugene O’Neill, Ansel Adams, The Pilgrims, Death and the Civil War, Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World, and more.
One of America’s preeminent documentary filmmakers, Ric Burns is a profoundly powerful storyteller whose thought-provoking and deeply poetic films have garnered a devoted following. Best known for his Emmy Award-winning New York: A Documentary Film, Burns has told the story of America through his movies, from the Mayflower and the Civil War to 9/11.Read More >
Capital of capitalism, birthplace of democracy, cauldron of the modern world: for nearly four hundred years now, New York City has been the premier urban laboratory and unofficial capital of the American dream. From its establishment in 1624 as a remote Dutch trading post, down through its emergence in the 20th century as the undisputed cultural and economic clearinghouse of the world, New York City has played a unique, and uniquely transformative, role in the development of American culture, mingling and unleashing the extraordinarily powerful and transforming forces of capitalism and democracy as no other city on earth. Walking through four hundred years of history, from the arrival of the Dutch down past the catastrophe of 9/11, Ric Burns discusses the salient forces that have driven New York upward, and made it the complex center of the modern world.Read More >
The talk will tell the riveting, dreamlike and extraordinarily rich story of the American whaling industry, from its 17th century origins in drift- and shore-whaling off the coast of New England and Cape Cod, down through the great golden age of deep-ocean whaling in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and on to the industry’s spectacular demise in the decades following the American Civil War.Read More >
Ric Burns presents short film clips that are interspersed throughout his lectures. All film clips are customized to the topic chosen.Read More >
Debt Of Honor: Disabled Veterans in American History
American Masters: American Ballet Theatre
Enquiring Minds: The Untold Story Of The Man Behind The National Enquirer
Death and the Civil War
New York: The Center of the World
Into The Deep: America, Whaling & The World
We Shall Remain: Tecumseh's Vision
Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film
Eugene O'Neill: A Documentary Film
Ansel Adams: A Film Written & Directed by Ric Burns
New York: An Illustrated History
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