The Lens of Ken Burns: A Conversation on History, Storytelling, and the Power of Film

August 9, 2015  • Institute Staff

The Aspen Institute’s 22nd Annual Summer Celebration Conversation, featuring Ken Burns: Filmmaker and 2015 Public Service Award Honoree. Moderated by Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of The Aspen Institute.

Ken Burns has been making documentary films for more than 35 years.  Since the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Ken has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz, Statue of Liberty; Huey Long; Lewis and 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.

Future projects include films on Jackie Robinson, the Vietnam War, the history of country music, Ernest Hemingway, and the history of stand-up comedy.

Ken’s films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including thirteen Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations; and in September of 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Ken was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

About the Aspen Institute Public Service Award:

This special award is bestowed upon an individual who professionally and personally exemplifies the fundamental values of democracy. He or she has a record of coalition building and is a strong representative of the timeless ideals of tolerance, justice, and respect for open-minded dialogue.