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Filmmaker Ken Burns discusses upcoming projects, Wash U commencement speech, more

Filmmaker Ken Burns
Cable Risdon

From baseball and jazz to the Civil War and Prohibition, award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has had a long and varied career. The New York Times has called Burns “the most accomplished documentary filmmaker of his generation.” 

Burns joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to talk about his career, upcoming projects and commencement address at Washington University in St. Louis on Friday.

Most often associated with his work for PBS, Burns’ future projects include films on Jackie Robinson (2016), Vietnam (2017), Country Music (2019) and Ernest Hemingway (2019).

Often noted for his films addressing race issues, Burns shared his views about the unrest in Ferguson last August.

“I think St. Louisans can understand that what’s playing out here isn’t just here, it’s an American problem,” he said. “The American experiment is first and foremost a question about what is the nature of freedom.”

Among other topics, Burns expressed gratitude for public broadcasting media. “I think one of the reasons that I’m happy to be in public television is that I can be the master of my content, and I can explore complicated and sometimes difficult things in ways that commercial networks often loathe to explore.”

“I’m trying to make films for all Americans,” he continued, “and share the glories of our shared past with all Americans.”

St. Louis on the Air discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter: @STLonAir.

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