November 24, 2015
DALLAS (SMU) – Ken Burns, renowned director and producer of documentary films, including Baseball, The War and The Roosevelts, will be the featured speaker at The Oncor Lecture of the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series at SMU on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Burns will answer questions at the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Tate Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom, 3140 Dyer St. The student forum is a lively question-and-answer session with the Tate speaker for area high school students, SMU students, faculty and staff.
The Oncor Lecture will begin at 8 p.m. Tuesday at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium, 6405 Boaz Lane. The event is sold-out.
Ken Burns has been making documentary films for almost 40 years. Since the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Burns has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; The Statue of Liberty; Huey Long; Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery; Frank Lloyd Wright; Mark Twain; Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson; The War; The National Parks: America’s Best Idea; The Roosevelts: An Intimate History; and, most recently, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies.
In 2009, David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun said, “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 on to history with his films, he showed us a new way of looking at our collective past and ourselves.” The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of Burns’ films, “More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source.”
Future projects include films on Jackie Robinson, the Vietnam War, the history of country music, Ernest Hemingway and the history of stand-up comedy.
Burns’ films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including 13 Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations. In 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Ken Burns was honored by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
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